To love a bookworm

 

Beat About The Book - fiction

Shall we go watch a movie today?’ I ask my best buddy, my better half, my wife. “Please not today,” she says making puppy eyes at me, “I need to finish this book …”

Aaaargh.. not again!

“…. It’s about this bunch of people who make up a literary society called the Potato Peel Pie society.. isn’t that the quaintest name ever? It was during WWII….’ On she goes talking animatedly, words tumbling out faster than I can comprehend.

We don’t stand a chance – the movie and I. The old enemy had struck again. Her books!

As I pick up the TV remote listlessly past injustices come flashing back. I remember the time we went on a holiday high up in the mountains. I was dreaming of scouting the hills, of long walks and sweet conversations, of taking her soft hand in mine and strolling along the emerald slopes. “How lovely is the mountain breeze”, she had said rolling out her mat on the grass. Even as she pulled me down beside her she was wandering off into the grounds of Pemberly.

There was the time I wanted to explore Delhi’s Red Fort but she had much rather be at Hogwarts. “Do you know they have moving staircases and ghosts floating around and portraits that actually talk? Can anything match that?” Nope Shah Jahan certainly hadn’t thought of it. And so I picked at peanuts while she told me about pumpkin pie.

Maybe humour would draw her away, I thought. I got tickets to this amazing stand up comic show. “Have you heard of Blandings? she had said. That’s where we should be. The things that happen…. wheels within wheels”, she had said laughter bubbling up like a clear spring on a summer day.

Ah I’ll take her to Goa, thought I. Some romance – that’s what we need. I dreamt of lazy days in the sun, candlelight dinners on the beach and castles in the sand. That’s what my dreams turned out to be – castles in the sand – for all she wanted to do was put out her towel, lean against me and lose herself in the dusty farmsteads of Drogheda.

Then there was the day of my office party. She agreed to come along though she knew not a soul. I’d lost her in the crowd. Worried, I’d called her on her phone. “Where are you?” I had queried. “In the parking lot,” she answered sobbing. My head buzzed with a hundred panicked thoughts as I ran to her. The sight of her tear-stained face as she stood there book in hand, squeezed the breath out of me. “Why did he have to die?” she sobbed on my best party shirt. “Who? What? Who died?” “He shouldn’t have left Holly. Oh it’s the most beautiful story,” she was smiling through her tears. PS: I love you, said her book.

reading

That was the day I knew I’d lost the battle. I had since then, contented myself with being her pillow while she read, wearing eye masks to bed and gifting her books and more books for I’d do anything to see that glorious smile break out on her face. And I loved to hear her talk about people and places, wars and romances, friendships and betrayals even though I never could strike a friendship with her books.

I snapped back to the present.

‘Does she love me at all?’ I wondered listlessly. But then there was the time I found the bouquet of wild flowers I’d picked for her on the mountains tucked carefully between the pages of her book. And I see the shells we had collected in Goa lovingly lining her bookshelf. The other day she tried to create the wizarding world’s butterbeer specially for me. Ah yes she cared.

But the books!! Always her books… stealing her away from me.

Then ….. the baby came along – hers and mine.“Now I’ll see!” I thought. Aren’t new mums just the busiest of beings? “No time for books, now. It’ll be me, she and the baby and nobody else.”

One bright sunny morning, I entered the room with a bottle of milk and I found her with the baby in her lap, picture book in hand. I watched as she opened it. The baby kicked it away. A secret grin spread across my face, “Way to go little one,” I whispered. Unfazed, she reached out for the book, opened it again and again and yet again. She’s stubborn, this girl of mine but so’s the little one. It’s in the genes, I think delightedly. But what’s this! That bus in the book caught his eye. “Da da da,” he says tapping it with one chubby fist. Drat, those genes! I looked on, helplessness changing to fascination as my gaze shifted from baby to mum. I watched her watching him, face shining as she pointed to the picture and softly hummed ‘The wheels of the bus..’ .

I find my resentment melting away. That’s the girl I fell in love with. Stubborn, passionate, delightful, enchanting, bookworm forever. And I reach out for her and pull her in a hug – bottle, book, baby and all.

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26 thoughts on “To love a bookworm

  1. Nancy

    Ahh, wonderful post! My husband was unlucky enough to marry a book worm too and he has learned to take it in stride, just as you have. By the way, I read the book about the “Potato Peel Pie Society” too and it was worth missing the movie for. 😉

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  2. Shailaja V

    I fell in love with this post. It’s so beautiful and so effectively captures the dilemma of a bookworm as well as those married to one. Poor guy, I do feel sorry for him 😉

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  3. Rachna

    Such a sweet post, Tulika. I can only imagine what my husband feels now when I see my elder son sprawled with a book, oblivious to the world. It bugs me and makes me feel pride too and then again bugs me. 😉

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    1. Beat About the Book

      Ha ha Vishal if you’re a reader you’ll know how it happens. When you have a good book, a really good book – you become an addict till you finish it. It happens to me – I resent having to get up even for a moment.

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  4. Tarang Sinha

    Lovely post! Being a book lover, I can understand his feeling (frustration) but bookworms are just like this. But yes, I won’t mind taking a break from books for a while to savour the beauty nature on the mountains.

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  5. Sreesha Diva

    OMG OMG OMG OMG Tulika, I love you ❤ ❤ ❤ This is the most beautiful post I've ever read!
    Oh, the emotions we feel when we read! Oh, the husband never gets it! I excitedly tell him when something happens (whether he knows the characters or not) and he pretends to look excited (making it obvious that he's pretending). Oh, oh, oh!
    Yeah, I keep showing picture books to my son; he used to love them as a baby, but I've noticed his enthusiasm fading lately. Takes off after his dad I guess. Sigh.

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    1. Beat About the Book

      Lol Sreesha now that comment is the kind of thing I love – bookworm to bookworm :-). I have almost given up on the husband.. almost.. because even now, after years of marriage and of knowing that he isn’t really interested, there are some books that I just have to tell him about because there is no one else around just then. For most others, I have found like minded friends to talk to.

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  6. Eloquent Mind

    I love, love, loved it 🙂 Although I feel a little bad for the boy too. After all it’s not everyday that we get such a romantic who would go to any extent keeping his wife away from books. I find bookworms very passionate & full of knowledge.

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  7. Lata Sunil

    Wow Tulika. I bet my husband goes through similar feelings. But he loves listening to the stories after I have read a good book.

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    1. Beat About the Book

      I think that’s wonderful – to have someone listen to you while you gush and rave. If he isn’t an avid reader but a good listener it’s the perfect combination – you get to have your say AND all the space on the bookshelf. Bliss :-).

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Aw that’s so sweet. Thank you. My day is made. Of course all it means is that you’re a bookworm too.

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  8. nabanita

    This reminds me of our vacation in Goa last year when all I wanted to do was sit at the beach or by the pool and read books! I even missed clicking S’s pic as he was doing some parachute activity because I was so engrossed in the book. I even took a book to the theatre once just to finish reading before the movie began 🙆 It’s me 😊

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Ha ha Naba. Happy you saw yourself here. I have to tell you when I wrote about the baby I absolutely had you in mind.

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  9. shanayatales

    You, my friend, have nailed it. The emotions on either side, and the baby – that hit close to home. My son butchered books in his first 2 years, and now he is as much in love with them as I am – and I can’t be more glad! 😀 By now, my husband too has learned to take it in his stride. 😀

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