Huda Mahmood |
Education and books are as closely related as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, Rahel and Estha, Fred and George, and Joey and his food; inseparable and incomplete. These two relate to the act of reading. It is when we read a book that we educate ourselves. An act as simple as that of opening up a book and looking into it, pondering on its words, and taking a lesson back home at the end, can create a mighty difference.
Sadly, now when you look around, it’s not the only purpose you see these gems are fulfilling. It is a rare sight that you see a person deeply engrossed in reading a book. Instead, it’s heartbreaking to see them being used. The ever growing materialism of the world has taken them into its embrace and it is an excruciating thing to see.
In our inability to address the shortcomings of our own, we’ve turned into hypocritical beings. We only crave fame and run after money ruining anything and everything that comes in the way.
I’m not just writing it out of nowhere to waste your time reading my rants and cries on something of such insignificance, but the idea got stuck with me. An idea that originated from a thought that got stuck in my head. It happened when I went out to this restaurant for some good food and a nice ambiance that the idea was born. It was a good enough place with great food and a comfortable environment, and there what caught my attention was a rack stacked with books of all sorts. Name a genre and it was right there!
I’d be lying if I said otherwise, but initially, I was delighted to see them! A heavenly view right there as I enjoyed the amazing food and had a good laugh with my friends. It wasn’t until later that I realized: those books stacked up there filled no purpose. At least not the purpose they were written down for; leaving me with a question…
What was the purpose of stacking those books up?
Since when did books become equivalent to those pieces of porcelain put there to add beauty? Since when did the wisdom in them become this worthless?
The books stacked up so neatly in that fancy restaurant served no purpose but mere decoration. A way of adding on to the so-called ambiance of the place. Making it more soothing and peaceful for the exhausted souls having food there. Put there just to enhance its aura and aesthetic sense.
It dawned on me as the most brutal kind of a disgrace! Not just to those words, but to those countless hours and sleepless nights that the writer spent to put them together. It was a humiliation to the idea those books contained. Each and every book, beholding its own world, was belittled in that shop as it was used for the sake of decoration.
Not a single person bothers to read them. They are just there… Like the rest of the tables and chairs. Since when did books become equivalent to those pieces of porcelain put there to add beauty? Since when did the wisdom in them become this worthless? Since when did we become such lost in the outlook? Since when did we give up on these gems?
Still unable to digest this realization and come to terms with it in any way I was met with yet another alarming situation. It took place when I visited a furniture shop in a mall. It was the book lover in me that forced me to enter the shop as I saw books put up there on the furniture on display. The books looked really beautiful and extravagant from the covers. However, on close inspection, I found that those were mere empty boxes of cardboard. I still can’t put the torment that I experienced on finding that out into words. It put marketing and advertising into a whole new perspective and that too of extreme horror.
We continue to be strong believers of education and support all causes, but are we really that honest with ourselves?
The same questions screamed through my mind, desperately looking for answers. For once, I was ashamed and very deeply ashamed for that matter. Ashamed at the degradation that those books faced. Ashamed at the devalued words of those amazing people. Ashamed at their life-long learning mocked like this just for the sake of a few rupees. Ashamed for our falling nation, failing time and again. Ashamed that we still fail to realize where we are going wrong.
We continue to be strong believers of education and support all causes, but are we really that honest with ourselves? We advocate on spreading literacy and teaching the underprivileged, but are we any better? We preach that education makes you better but then look at our tactics… Does it?
In our inability to address the shortcomings of our own, we’ve turned into hypocritical beings. We only crave fame and run after money ruining anything and everything that comes in the way… Then be it books… We’ve lost the vision to appreciate their existence which explains what we do to them.
Huda Mahmood is a student of Electrical Engineering at Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS). She writes fiction and book reviews and is currently working as an Editor and Writer for Constella. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.