Thursday, February 22, 2024

Confessions of a Bibliophile


For a generation that has grown up with digital devices attached to themselves, Mirhan Kermani is a rarity! In a world of virtual reality and artificial intelligence, the 15-year-old bibliophile easily devours at least three novels a day.

As a seven-year-old studying at Mission Heights School, Mirhan first discovered his love for books. He remembers checking out stacks of books from the school library as well as public libraries. Most of the times the pile-up was a lot higher than him.

Much as the teenager now enjoys sport and other extracurricular activities, he admits his happy place is undoubtedly, the library! It’s where time stops still!

Ask him about his first love and he waxes lyrical about his favourite hangout, a library.

“A thick wooden scent envelops me, its presence calming me. What I love about spending time in a library is that the pages of the books give off a musky scent from all its previous borrowers, and comfort oozes out from the hard worn cover,” says Mirhan.

“It’s comforting seeing thick wooden shelves run down as far as the eye can see, nicked and worn, and the books on them sit still, inviting and inanimate.

“To me, a library, is a place of rest and utmost comfort. A place in which many lives can be lived all at once, through the vast collection of exciting books on shelves. In a society which values instant results, the existence of a library can be a steadfast, safe haven for those too caught up in the tumultuous rapids of modern life.

“It’s exciting walking into a space surrounded by wall-to-wall stories of heroes slaying dragons and rescuing princess; the grim and eventful life of famous historical figures! The library is jampacked with profound knowledge and philosophies, culture and entertainment,” says the librarian’s delight.

“My favourite at one time was the biography section, reading about lives of great leaders, the struggle and the turmoil they went through and how they changed their lives and those of others, around. It’s very inspiring and thought-provoking.”

Talking about the environment in a library, he says, “At peak hours it can be packed with people but still silent enough to hear your own breathing. Its walls are close together and crowded by people, but somehow it doesn’t feel stifling. It is so easy to lose yourself in a fictional world and become oblivious of your immediate surroundings.

“I do believe that a good book helps with the creative thinking process with its intriguing plots and sub-plots as it allows the reader to conjure a scene within their own headspace. Often these visualisations can be far more elaborate and enjoyable for a reader than it would be if they were supplied with a mere visual of the scene. For me, it has enhanced my understanding of the complexities of life. Books have been a gateway to diverse cultures, knowledge and entertainment”

Quoting Dr Seuss the 15-year-old says, “The more you read, the more things you will know, the more things you learn, the more places you will go.

“Books have a positive impact on the reader’s mind, alongside the obvious improvements such as vocabulary and grammar comprehension. It aids in reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and heart rate, preventing age related cognitive disease and even increases our brains ‘mental capacity’.

“As they say, a reader lives a thousand lives!”


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