Week 46: My Books are Yearning to Travel

I woke up with this sudden urge to travel, or rather to escape. Perhaps it had something to do with the dream that I woke up from. Perhaps it was my subconscious reaching out to me from the depths of misty darkness. But the call was quite loud and clear. My heart wants to go away from the pandemic hell. My heart wants to soar up into the skies and into cooler climes. My heart is crying out for some solitude — the kind of solitude you can find in the quiet company of nature.

I want to pack my bags with books and go away to a distant Himalayan village and spend my days reading and writing. It is my books which are yearning to travel. They are calling out to me and telling me to turn their pages in a locale different from the reading corners of my home. Suffice to say, I have exhausted all options, tried out all different ways I can read. My favourite still remains reading upside down — with me lying on the floor and my legs up on the sofa.

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.

Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life

My mind is like a child today, bargaining with me — ‘Let’s just take a flight. To anywhere.’ So malnourished is my soul from lack of travel, that I seem to be romanticising even the less pleasant aspects of air travel. The wonder and magic of travelling through books is not a mystery to me. But I yearn to travel with my books. My books are yearning to break free from the confines of my home.

A bag full of books

I welcome the uncontrollable outbursts of young children because that would mean that life, as we know it, is back to normal. Reading on a plane seems like a distant dream belonging to a different time and place. The quiet hum of the airplane, the cool air conditioner kissing my face so much so that sometimes I ask for a blanket to cocoon myself in while diving into the story. The aroma of coffee mingled with the tinkling of glasses and the quiet chatter of people. I want to watch the cloud cities from my window. I want to eat unpalatable airline food served in tiny rectangular boxes. I want to drift into a fitful sleep. I want to embrace the discomfort because it feels like this world has shrunk to the size of my apartment.

I know every book of mine by its smell, & I have but to put my nose between the pages to be reminded of all sorts of things.

George Gissing

My mind keeps wandering into the past of train travel and road travel and all those mountains and beaches that exist in the world out there. As the pandemic rages and tears the world asunder, it is only in the past that the mind can travel now. I want to return to those sweet hours spent in coffee shops drinking coffee turned cold. The days of yore when stories came alive as you turned the pages of a book while ambling in the aisles of a store. When you missed your stop or your step while fighting demons, inner or otherwise, inside the depths of a book. I want that dead time back — my kingdom for noisy malls, tiny café tables, and not-so-crowded bookstores!

I am not sure which one I want more — travel or books. For now, I want both. I want to travel with a book. I want to read somewhere other than on my armchair. I want to smell a different air when I am reading, I want to see different sights from my window while I turn the page. I want to hear the sound of silence when the pages of my book rustle and crinkle under my fingers.

I want to turn the page…

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