It is said that a good writer is always a good reader. By a good reader I do not necessarily mean reading good books, but I mean reading a lot of all sorts of books. However, I hate to admit that over the years, my frequency of reading has deteriorated due to so many other commitments. But I can never hesitate in confessing that when I start daydreaming in the middle of a long and boring report-writing task, I always see myself reading a good book while sipping on a cocktail, sitting in a private garden far away from the city. The reason I am suddenly writing about my passion of reading today is because I just finished reading ‘The Book Thief’, and the best seller touched me in so many ways. There were a few characters in the book who instilled a sense of humanity and compassion in me and then there was Liesel, the young Communist girl who could not read or write, but became ‘the book thief’. I could relate to her so easily. I could feel the thirst she had for reading books, the awe and delight she felt when she first saw a library, and how, in times of stress, reading calmed her nerves and inspired her to read for other people.
I now remember the joy I experienced when my dad bought me my first book, it was Snowhite and the Seven Dwarfs, I think. How I kept re-reading it till I got another set of books. And then of course, how can I forget the magical Harry Potter era when my imagination knew no bounds and I embraced the world of fantasy.
School is never a student’s heaven, but I remember loving it once a week when we could visit the school library and borrow a book each week and return it the next week. I can still feel the pleasure of brushing through rows and rows of books trying to find the best one to read. During my middle school, I had become addicted to the Goosebumps series which were written by R.L. Stine. Curling under my blanket at night, with ‘The Headless Ghost’ in hand, I used to enjoy the shivers that used to run down my spine.
By the time I passed out of school, I had become a more mature reader, having read the likes of books such as Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mocking Bird, Diary of Anne Frank, and the list goes on.
Each book I have read makes me marvel at the power of words and the unique beauty with which each author strings them together. Each book opens up with it a new world of possibilities and brings with it a ray of hope. Every book I read inspires me to write. Read. Write again. And as such the cycle shall go on until the day my soul departs from this world, because every life has a story and every story wants to be heard.
There is a word in the Urdu language, called ‘Wafa‘. It’s literal meaning in the English language being loyalty. This morning my mother was completing her writing assignment and she asked me for my help in giving a concise definition of ‘wafa‘. I pondered for a few minutes and at last concluded that displaying wafa is simply fulfilling the trust one has upon you, regardless of any circumstance.
As easy as it might be to define wafa, it is hard to receive or reciprocate it. My personal observations force upon me the impression that one cannot be truly loyal to even the most loved person in this world. Lying to our parents time and again, indulging in those hot and spicy, yet mindless gossips about our so-called friends , betraying a true lover because of a ‘mistake’ are just few instances of any individual’s life when they are not wafadaar or loyal. Leaving aside occupants of the same race, it’s even more disappointing that we are not even loyal to our Creator. This happens so because eventually loyalty to oneself, loyalty to one’s own desires overshadows all other expected loyalties. Selfish as we naturally are and easily weakened under influence, we have the saddening tendency to heartlessly break somebody’s trust. Our guilty conscience keeps sleeping till it is aroused by pain that overcomes us when our expectations of loyalty from someone else meet a similar fate.
I believe that if all of us pledge a lifetime of pure loyalty to at least a single person throughout our lifetime, we would leave this world with a lighter and happier soul. We would be someone’s unsung hero.