I began to read during my late teens. Being an over protected child and a loner; all I was left with were books. Most of my solitary moments were spent immersed amidst white printed papers. Words became my companions and I stopped complaining about being cursed by loneliness. Reading magically transformed a curse into the best gift one could ever receive.
Rooted in science academically, the toddling reader in me favored popular science books the most. The wonder of science began to grip me and the world around me unfolded its physical beauty and secrets. In my perception, then, this world was nothing more than an artistic assemblage of atoms and molecules by the ‘nature architect’. I wasn’t interested at all in fiction. ‘That’s not my cup of tea’, I use to tell myself. I perceived fiction as an exaggerated virtual reality, for my mind, wasn’t mush interested emotional things, at that time. Perhaps my logical part of mind was busy working, while my emotional side of the brain actually remained in coma.
Though I had read plenty of comics as a child –they’re my childhood buddies- as an adult I perceived fiction as nothing more than poetically weaved lie. I began to read poetry and actually began to enjoy them. That, I feel, as a height of irony, now. I never knew how or what made me to step into the realm of poetry. I always read poetry in my vernacular Tamil. The world presented through the poems those I read were far from reality floating in the universe that dwells in a dream bubble. Sleeping with poems became the order of my nights. Through poetry I began to experience the consoling caress of the alter reality that literature alone was capable of.
The world of fiction cleanses the world of reality with its compassionate rays. Fictions breathe humaneness, into the otherwise bunch of atoms and molecules. Fictional universe proves best to lose ourselves, and dwelling in those fictitious universes is one of the best mean to face existing reality. The illusory world created by a story teller holds you hands and guides you through the intricacies of the human psyche unfolding all its shades and colours. Fiction provides a kind of second hand experience to its readers that in many ways are equivalent to real life experience.
Science while helps one to understand the physical aspect of nature and life, stories reveal the metaphysical and philosophical dimensions of the same. Stories bring liveliness to our lives which otherwise would wane in the mechanical rhythm of the wheel of life.
The storyteller in my view is the best alchemist. He/She embraces us with his/her stories, come into us, takes hold of us for hours to days. The alchemy of a wonderful story is that the reader is not the same before and after reading it. Stories transform us and every storyteller is perhaps God’s immense compassion towards mankind personified.