World Book Day – Gautam Gogoi

Reflectionist Gautam Gogoi (ITBM 2021-23)

“One glance at a book, and you hear another person’s voice, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.”

Carl Sagan

The developed and fast-paced world of today, with all its development, technology, and prosperity, could not ever be imagined without the existence of books. Even one of the greatest philosophers, Voltaire, once said that books run the world. What he exactly meant was that the people who read and write books have the capacity to bring a change into this world. So, ultimately the world is functioning the way it is because of these books. I believe this is what even Napolean meant when he said, “Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.”

Books are not just some leaves of paper bound together but a storehouse of valuable knowledge, unique experiences, and precious wisdom that are passed on by the greatest minds to posterity through written words. Each book is a whole new world altogether, and it transports us to a different dimension where the concept of time and space doesn’t exist. We can travel to various parts of the world and at different timeframes even by sitting in the comfort of our homes…Simply Magical !!

I still remember, when I was a little kid, I had been introduced to books through a comic called the ‘’Tinkle Digest’’. Initially, the drawings and the artwork attracted me towards it. Just looking at those colourful and vibrant pictures made me travel into a different world. Specially those legendary characters like Suppandi, Shikari Shambu, Tantri the Mantri, and many others became my personal friends. It captured my attention and impacted me at that tender age. Slowly I started to read the dialogues which were written beside the pictures to get a better idea of the story, and this is how I developed my fondness for printed words. From there, I took on to storybooks and gradually, over the years I expanded my reading arena to novels, short stories, poetry, biographies, non-fiction, personal development, philosophy, historical books, almost any subject that I was curious about or was eager to explore and enjoy. This is how my journey of reading started, and it still continues.

I sometimes feel blessed that I was not born into an era of digitization, smartphones, laptops, and tablets. In hindsight, it might have deprived me of this beautiful world that I discovered through the rustic pages of books. Of course, technology and modern tools have a vital role to play in the advancement of this world, but today we are so busy with the intake of information that we forget to value the experience of reading a book and savouring it. As humanity reaches the pinnacle of technical breakthroughs with all the modern tools at our disposal to make us more advanced humans, the interest in books is dwindling day by day. And this is exactly why World Book Day is celebrated. It is to remind us about the importance of books and reading in our lives.

World Book Day, also known as World Book and Copyright Day, is celebrated across the globe to recognize and promote the benefit of reading books, publishing, and copyright. It is organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). April 23rd  is chosen as the date for this special day because several prominent authors were either born or have died on this day. While William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes and Josep Pla died on this day, Manuel Mejia Vallejo and Maurice Druon were born.

There is nothing like getting lost in the world of books where you stumble upon different areas of knowledge, make friends with various characters, live different lives, and slowly try to make your way towards the destination, becoming a wiser person. It doesn’t really matter if you are a bibliophile or a bibliophobe, there is always a genre for everyone to get interested in books.

As rightly said by J.K Rowling, “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”