And this from a girl who reads…

Read this wonderful post put up on The Couture Gypsy’s facebook page and I was instantly transported back to me, circa my late teens and early 20s.
I was, back then, and am now, and I guess will always be until my eyes give out on me, a reader. The kind of reader that if she found nothing relevant to read would be content reading an instruction manual or the label of a medicine bottle. Anti social they called me. At family gatherings, I would be the one who had carried along the book I was currently reading and would find a quiet corner to hide in and read, after having said my perfunctory hellos to all and sundry. If anyone spoke to me, asked me a question I would emerge blinking and dazed from whatever it was that I was reading to figure out what it was that I had been asked. So when the rest of the girls my age were batting eyelashes at young worthies, and rushing off into corners, and making boyfriends and breaking up, I was the one boyfriendless and with no one asking me out for a date, because I guess, I didn’t put my head out of a book enough for anyone to get a good look at me. In fact, my romantic life was so non existent that a very concerned mother sat me down for a talk on whether all was well. I was the one who was always balancing a pile load of books from the British Council library or the USIS and stumbling around, tripping over things, spraining ankles and bruising knees in the process. I was the one whose eyes would light up at a raddi shop and would prefer spending hours browsing there, reaching home with bags filled with dogeared finds for Rs 10 and Rs 20 each.
That continues to date. I have been known to ditch going for parties because there is a book I just have to finish, right now, this very minute. I read in the car, at home, waiting outside school to pick the child up. I am a nose in the book kind of person.
In college, I was told by friends that some chappie with a crush on me couldn’t work up the nerve to ask me out ‘because I was a reader”. Ah well, I’m glad he didn’t because a chappie who came by later had nerve enough and more, and not only asked me out, but also carried my pile of books for me, all the way home. And yes, I married him six years later. A complete non reader.
We met at a college fest where I was, what else, sitting on a bench, outside reading Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch. Ah yes, I was in quite the militant feminist mode in those days. The boy, as handsome as a Greek God, had no idea who Greer was. But he sat down, and chatted with me. Dropped me home. And was the first boy who ever paid nerdy me any attention.
A boy who never read anything, except his textbooks and that too under duress. My evil influence has since, rubbed off on him and we have many cupboards full of books and most evenings we can be found immersed in our respective books.
I am still a girl who reads. And I know that a girl who reads is one who lives through many lives, who has an imagination that is greater than what life has given her, who can lose herself in lives of fiction, who lives through the characters in the books, who can cry over them, agonise for them, feel elated about their highs, live their lives vicariously. And I’m grateful that I have a spouse who understands that I need to read like I need oxygen and gives me the space and the calm to read.
Are you a girl who reads too?


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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25 Responses to And this from a girl who reads…

  1. Archana Pai Kulkarni says:

    Yes I am!. I am! I read on the pot. I have been cruelly asked whether the book I carry to the loo has a laxative effect. I read while waiting for my bus. I ditched travelling by cars, cabs and autos to travel in a dangerous (21 have burnt down) purple-coloured ac bus only because I can read in it. Sometimes I wonder whether I’m more of a reader than a writer. When I tell people I don’t watch television, they don’t believe me but I have chosen books over the idiot box. I find the smell of books intoxicating. What is miss the most now is walking through the aisles of the British Council Library, my hands filled with books (I had a family membership) ever since they went online. Everyone at home knows how sacred my book club (Papyrus) meet is to me. I don’t miss it even if I’m dying. By the way, I just finished reading The Book Thief. We are reading up on ‘World War II. We meet tomorrow for dinner. Good food, great books, electric discussions. Want to come?


  2. Kyosuke says:

    Your books are lucky!


  3. Reema Sahay says:

    I have also been a girl who read, the one who could always be found in library, the one who still hunts down and buys books like there is no tomorrow…and my only fear is the day when I will not be able to read (because of eye sight)! It has been articulated well in these lines:
    ‎”I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
    – Jorge Luis Borges


  4. Meera says:

    Yes, i am a girl who reads!! I cannot go to sleep without reading at least 10 pages. And if I run out of books to read, I hunt out my kids’ Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha 🙂

    And I am also lucky my husband understands my need to read!!


  5. I like readers turning non-readers into readers. Does that make sense? 🙂


  6. very interesting story for me 🙂


  7. I am the girl who reads and the girl who married a boy who doesn’t read…its been 7 years since he became my property and he still doesn’t read…So it just me the girl who reads 🙂


  8. sukanya says:

    Amen Kiran….
    what is a world without books?

    my hubby is a non reader too, he reads but mostly leadership/business/IT books. but he has merrily built books cases for his wife who loves to read.


  9. JS says:

    Some of the best advice I have received in life is: Read, read, read. Doesn’t matter what it is…sings on the road, food labels, etc. You will be amazed at how much you will learn. And I truly am…
    Unfortunately I can’t make enough time for it so I am reduced to such trivial reading for the moment..but even so, it has taught me a lot.
    The best kind of sleep is also book induced.


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Absolutely. Dropping off while reading a book and landing slap bang in the middle of the situation from the book in one’s dream is absolutely lovely too.


  10. Yes, I am 🙂 In my extended family, I’m till date made fun of as the girl who had her nose in a book sitting near the mandap while a wedding was on 🙂

    And the last paragraph is simply beautiful. Very well written!!


  11. Average Jane says:

    I WAS the girl who read Hardy and Huxley and Maupassant..the works. Now I am someone who you might as well ask..Hardy? You mean Hardy boys?? You still read that? (Yeah, that’s Dilli culture for you). Though I still read..a lot..of trash..sigh.


  12. Jyothi says:

    I WAS the girl who reads.First of a kind in my family.
    I even used to read the bits of newspaper in which groceries used to come wrapped in!
    But then sadly,marriage and two kids changed it all ! 😦


    • Kiran Manral says:

      That’s sad. For the first few years of motherhood, I barely read at all too. Now that the brat is older, am back to reading. Hope you will get back too.


  13. I hear you. I so, so very well understand.
    I am a girl who reads, and has been reading for as long as she can remember, except for some odd years in college.
    I am married to a complete non-reader. He understands my need to read, even though he doesn’t, and encourages my passion.


  14. Vidya says:

    Read your blog very regularly.
    Like it and can relate to it as a mother and also someone who lives around the same area as you.
    Keep Writing
    Oh yea I Love to read.


  15. Shalet says:

    I read so much, trash, non- trash, Dr Seuss for children, self help, positive thinking, cookery, blogs. So much so that, the only electronic gadgets I am ever attracted to is my kindle and iPad. oh yes, I ditched books in the paper form because we have no more space to keep them.. I think, although I want to be a writer some day, reading is indeed what I call my passion. BTW, I follow your blogs. Your kind of writing is very conversational and I love that.


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