An Affair To Remember - Cheating On My Husband With A Long Time Love


Like most kids (now adults) from my generation, my love affair with books also started with Harry Potter, no surprises there. I enjoyed reading in general but had never really gone to buy a book or planned a read. The kids magazines (mostly Urdu, thanks to them I'm not an Urdu illiterate today)
and the English literature syllabus at school was pretty much all the reading material I had.

A friend of my mother's gifted me the first of the Harry Potter books as my 11th birthday present. I gave it a try, couldn’t get past the first chapter so I just put it away and forgot all about it. Until, one day, a friend of mine mentioned 'the new movie' that had just come out and had become quite the rage, it was about magic! I instantly told my brother and we made our dad get us the CD. Those were the days we used the CD player in the CPU and watched movies on a desktop. While watching the movie, I recalled the chapter names from when I had flipped through the book. The Boy Who Lived and The Man With Two Faces, it was all too interesting to ignore now. I can now safely say that the movie did no justice to the story. I was obviously left craving explanations for a lot of questions. So I found the book that had been catching dust since long now and gave it a second try. That was it. There was no turning back.



All through school and university, my primary source of reading was borrowing books from the library. I barely ever bought any book except the HP series, those too were the crappy prints. Pocket money issues, you know. Before each summer/winter break, I could be found spending hours in my school/university library, getting books issued for the holidays. It was the most exciting ritual I had made for myself. This was usually the last day of exams so I invited judgemental looks from quite a few friends for going to the library just after exams had finished. 


There came a long lull in my reading once university ended and I started my career. There was just no time. I'm the person who takes immense amounts of work stress and does not leave work at the office. Toxic habit. I liked my work but not being able to detach myself from it became a hindrance in doing everything else I enjoyed. I would always have a book on me but never the time to read it. It made me very unhappy. I'm not one of those who can pull out their book and start reading even if it's just half a page. I wish I was, because it allows you to continue reading even during the busiest of days. But I just can't make myself open the book knowing I won't be able to read more than a page or two. I need to know I have ample time to enjoy a sufficiently long reading session. I don't like being forced to put down the book when I'm in the middle of an important chapter. I need to be able to put it down only when I'm ready to. It's not a good reading habit, but I haven't been able to change it. 


I'm one of those who get intoxicated by the smell of paper that is peculiar to a new book, ah! But I only started buying books once I started earning for myself. As most book lovers, I dream of having a small library of my own with a collection of all the books I’ve read. One day. I’m still a long way from a 'library' but I've started the journey at least. Every time I go book shopping now, I end up buying at least one book that I have read but don't have a copy of. It makes me sad when I see a book that I have read but don't posses. It takes a lot of effort to stop myself from buying the ones I've already read and instead get something new. Still have to buy the entire Harry Potter series with the new shiny covers. I always end up leaving it for the next book haul when I consider all the new reads I can get with the same money. The struggle is real.

There's also another problem. I need to have my books with me where ever I live. Even the ones I've long finished and don't plan on reading again. I just like knowing they are with me, I like looking at them once in a while. So when I moved to Saudia earlier this year, I also packed up and shipped my tiny collection of books with all the household stuff. Quite a few people made vain attempts at convincing me that I should leave them behind (my parents promised they wouldn't give them away to charity) and instead take more 'useful' stuff along but no, the books go where I go.



Once I was talking to someone who had taken a break from her full-time job due to personal reasons and was now whining about how she feels utterly useless doing nothing productive sitting at home all day. My instant reaction was, "but what about all the books you can read"? She was quite the reader herself but just hadn't thought about reading as the most productive use of her time. What else could be more productive for your intellectual growth? It was then I decided that if I ever get that kind of time on my hands, I would use it to compensate for the period I lost in terms of reading.

I can proudly say that I was able to stick to my resolve. Ever since the decision to leave my job and move to Saudia, I made reading a mandatory part of my day. As the work requirements and stress dissipated, I started spending more time with my books, after being in a long distance relation for quite long. The result, I read 25 books in 2016. Compared to the sad little count of 3 I had the year before (shame on me). Beaming with joy just writing this, feels like such an achievement.


About time I open that Goodreads profile and set my 2017 reading goals, have to account for all those 'how-to-xyz' baby books as well this time around. Have you thought of any reading goals for yourself? Tell me if you have, tell me if you haven't. Maybe we can start a book together?

Thanks for dropping by, see ya!




13 comments

  1. Awesomesauce! Thoroughly enjoyed reading on your eternal bibiliophilia. Oh boy we're way too much on the same wavelength with regard to this relationship! From hoarding all the already-read books to shipping them all the way to Land Down Under (yes, an exorbitant (at times) yet worth the splurge affaire de coeur) and to embracing and owing it yet again after a long hiatus - a flip side to hailing from Medicine. Sigh. However, I'm glad to be back in the saddle after having drained all my energies in Med school, license exams, hospitals and now on a 3-year-old rug rat (that's ongoing) lol. And it goes without saying that I'm lovinggg this reading fling to death :)

    P.S. 'The happiness project' by Gretchen Rubin is my latest read these days and I highly recommend it to anyone scounting for a good one.

    - Bushra Mehmood

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    1. Hey Bushra, the genius in me just remembered I had to moderate comments :P Happy to see you left the same comment insta as well and I had replied to you, otherwise I would have felt horrible to have ignored your comment for so long!

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  2. Your journey is so similar to mine!!! Except I haven't got back to the routine yet :( By the way, lovely to see some Urdu books there. Really enjoyed the post. Keep writing!

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    1. Thank you Rimsha! If it's true love, you will get back to it, sooner or later :)
      Those Urdu books are my mom's recommendations.
      Keep reading :D

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  3. Hey where did you get those book shelves from?
    2016 was my worst year in terms of reading, hoping to read at least 10 in 2017, fingers crossed!

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  4. never been a reader but I think I can relate to my book worm friends a little more now hahaha

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  5. I have loved reading since forever. My dadi made me addicted to reading. So I couldn't spend a day without a book. I made use of all the available time. But then job and marriage happened and there are just few books i have read since then "Jannat k Pattay" to top them all. I used to carry that heavy book to office everyday.
    I love the smell of paper and love to read the actual book but just to satisfy the craving i downloaded some books in my cell phone aswel.
    Maham

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    1. I've heard many good reviews about Jannat Kay Pattay, would love to read it some day!
      Your dad sounds so cool!

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    2. Do read it. Its amazing

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  6. I just discovered your blog and have read from the start till here in one sitting. Im completely hooked, I rekon I won't stop until I read the last entry. You should write a book.

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    1. Haha thanks anon!! If some publisher is crazy enough, sure :P

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