Library, The Quiet World Of Stories

libraryOnce in a while, when people around me go to exotic locations or restaurants to celebrate holidays, I step into a library. The city library is heaven. I mean, if heaven exists, then it looks like a big library, with old books and well cushioned armchairs.

Once in a while I sit here and write out many things. I call them “word tears” from the eyes of the soul. Drop by drop. Word by word. Those words are solitude lovers, they hardly travel. They are hidden somewhere in a pretty peony printed diary.

Once in a while I observe other people in the library. For example, this Asian lady in purple shirt. She’s sitting right here, in front of me. Her eyes are set in a book that is written in Chinese. And while I am doodling on my diary, she is sobbing. I look at her. Tears rolling down her face. Her fingers trying to find a tissue. I offer her a tissue. She gladly accepts without looking at me. She murmurs, “Thank you.” But I am not sure if that is targeted to me or the book. That book has touched her. I can see that. I can feel that. I know how words penetrate a heart and kill everything that you want to hold back.

Once in a while I come across people laughing out loud while reading their books here. I do little eavesdropping. If any stories are audible. I love humorous stories. So I search for a blank paper to note down the names of those books. I also want to say hello to them and ask, “Can we become book club buddy to share the laughter?” But I don’t. I know how it annoys me when people talk during my book reading. With books, solitude tastes like warm fudgy brownie. I know that. I surely know that.

Once in a while I spot a lady trying to monitor an over-enthusiastic kid and read a romance book. Last time I even found a boy reading Sherlock Holmes while biking out in the sun. The era of multi-tasking, people. The next generation, you know. They don’t love doing only one thing at a time. I, once, found a girl taking her selfie while reading Mockingjay and sipping her coffee. All three at the same time. I don’t want to comment more. That girl was me.

Once in a while I see a twenty something girl reading an young adult fiction to her grandmother. Paper Towns, The Book thief on her desk. Her grandmother’s eyes closed. Hers wide open. Between them there are untold stories, stories that only my lazy eyes can perceive.

Once in a while I notice a man working on the computer. Some job portals are always open. He has a big suitcase and a worn-out backpack. He keeps shaking his head as if he wants to reject everyone, and sips water from his grayish water bottle. His bright neon diary peeps out of his thick winter jacket. He moves to a chair later and reads Harper Lee.  During my next visit I find him again, at the same place, in front of the same desktop displaying multiple job openings, with his backpack and suitcase, before he shifts to read other authors. Something about him tells me that he was always a lover of words. And when the world badmouthed him, he found solace here, in How to Kill a Mockingbird, in The Grapes of Wrath, in the New Yorker, in Time magazines.

Some people call library their temple. You can be from any religion, any race. You are welcome even if you feel lost and no GPS tracks the right path for you. You are welcome if your heart wants to know everything. Literally everything.

Author: Archita

Musings about life and photography.

19 thoughts on “Library, The Quiet World Of Stories”

  1. True. The smell of books. They should keep them in bottles and sell it in open market. 🙂 Thank you for reading.

  2. Or, maybe some of us, the lover of old books will preserve it and call it a book museum. That part is scary. I tried reading books on e-readers, but I didn’t like the experience. I love all physical aspects of a book- the sound of page turns, the smell of new papers, the crisp and white page details, plus the cover illustrations. Thank you, Kristine.

  3. I agree with another reader here, like how she mentioned, every person is a story. Observing people in such places gives joy. I hope you find a good library like mine. Thank you, Vishal. 🙂

  4. Your Words for the year and Words for the weekend are not less than any good library. I love those two places a lot. I have so many good memories of record stores that they all deserve a separate blog. Your words always leave me inspired, Christy. Thank you. Yes, after that discussion, I bought myself a normal diary( and then I worked on it to make it pretty) <3.. I haven't watched City of Angels. Can you believe? The husband saw it, loved and recommended, but I did not want to see a story involving death. Now I have to find a DVD. 🙂

  5. Archita, Somehow all my comments were showing with wordpress account which i am no longer is my new place. Drop by when you find time:)

  6. Oh wow, Archita, this is beautiful. I too am a lover of libraries–and record stores–both being threatened or overrun by the digital age.

    Reading this was like eating a warm fudgy brownie in heaven with a close friend. Word tears. ❤ It makes me happy to read you've found time to write in a journal/diary.

    Oh, and have you seen City of Angels with Nic Cage? Remember where all of the Angels congregated? 🙂

  7. My fear is, as we continue towrd a digital age, that libraries will go away. And they can’t. They just can’t. They are more than book repositories. They hold magic, hope, ideas. They are a third place.

  8. This is a celebration of words, Archita. Vibrant, and captured through a pair of understanding, compassionate eyes. I remembered that Eliot quote “The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man” Very very beautiful write up!

  9. Written straight from heart. You are gifted to multitask like that. I believe every person is a story. I could relate as I am half the way writing something like this, about a person I met in a park during my stroll, who left me in a deep thought.

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