25
June , 2017
Sunday

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“Every time I open a book, a new world opens up to me. I feel like I am transported into the world of the characters and am watching the events unfold right before me. It doesn’t matter even if the book was written a hundred years ago or that people these days don’t talk like that. A good author can make you believe anything. It’s that kind of power that books hold”, says Divya, 19, talking about what she thinks about books and their impact on her. She adds that reading is an extremely important affair to her as it helps her become aware of many a thing and lets her imagination run wild. Many people may consider Divya boring and unexciting and a few may share her sentiments, but the truth remains that ‘reading’ as a habit is appreciated far lesser than it was in the past.

“Gone are the days when people used to read, be it newspapers, magazines or books. In today’s age, people, especially youngsters, hardly find time for anything besides themselves. Back in our time, reading was such an important hobby, a habit of quite a few too. We used to pick up books at random and read them because not only was it informative, but was such a pleasurable experience too. The thirst for knowledge that we had seems missing in the present generation”, opines Mrs. Kanta Verma, a mother of two teenagers. Many people of the older generation point out problems of inadequate vocabulary and poor grammar among the youngsters and blame it on the lack of reading. They say that the language is taking a backseat in the lives of teenagers, ironically, when communication is held at an all time high position.

Reading- A habit on the decline? Credit: Rouge Wave

Reading- A habit on the decline? Credit: Rouge Wave

Some people are of the opinion that reading is a lonely habit. It requires a lot of time spent in one’s own company and with the youth addicted to staying in touch with their peers whenever possible, find it a highly uninteresting hobby. Staying in contact with friends through social networking, texting and talking hardly leaves them with any time. The advent of TV and internet is also blamed for it. “There are so many things that we’re occupied with and demand our  attention; if reading isn’t one of them, why is everybody making such a big deal of it?” questions Sameer, a graduation student. “Right from school, there’s a lot of pressure on us to perform well in academics. It takes away so much of our time, that there’s hardly anytime left and in the little time that I have, I might as well hang out with my friend and have fun rather than read”, he adds.

Not everything is wrong in the picture though. Like everything else, reading is also a part of the ever changing process of evolution. The traditional book reading has given way to online reading, newspapers are fast becoming a thing of the past and now, one doesn’t have to make time to read because books can be heard! “It’s been so long since I’ve read a paperback book, all my reading these days happens online. There are so many good sites on the net with great content in them. The authors may not be famous, but the work is just as good. The best part about is that absolutely anyone can publish their work online for people to see”, says Anupama, an avid online reader. The old-school books have given way to the new craze of e-books. They can be viewed on desktops, laptops and e-book readers, which can store a lot of books in one place. A lot of sites offer e-books for downloading, sometimes paid and sometimes not.

The new way of reading! Credit: Rouge Wave

The new way of reading! Credit: Rouge Wave

Some of the changes have been so pronounced that one does not need to read books anymore because one can hear them too. The audio books are great for people, who are constantly on the move. “I generally do a lot of travelling. And reading is not always possible because there are times when you are in crowded places and jam packed buses and it’s at times like these that audio books come to my rescue. They’re an excellent way of reading a book, though technically, it’s not even reading”, says Padmini, who listens to them on her iPod. Mobile books are another offering and though not very popular in India at the moment, they are a fast catching up trend. Reading newspapers and magazines has also come down quite a bit in the last few years. In the defence of their respective sites, they have the same content and are easier, cheaper and quicker to access.

Reading may be a dying habit to a few, but to a whole new generation, it’s a reviving habit, a habit that’s being given a new definition. But some things are still the same; books are still read during boring lectures and conversations still struck on how good a book is. “I guess it really has become a small world, with everything beginning and ending with the net. But we aren’t very different from our parents’ generation. We do our reading too, just that in a different way because after all, it is a different generation and we do things in our own way”, adds Padmini. Amen to that!

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