No Spending On but Only Investing In

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A thing of beauty is a joy forever. A goldfish gracefully swaying its tail all the time mumbling its song of pride, a red sword-tail darting towards its own image and an artificial underwater garden in the aquarium really give us joy and bring a smile to our tired faces when we return from work. It is perfectly true that a shelf of books at the living room of any house too can be a thing of beauty. Sophisticated publishing techniques have made it possible to acquire, at remarkably low cost, a wide range of books that are a feast for the beauty loving eyes and a joy to handle. These are days when one can take deep pride in the very presence of books.

Once a millionaire invited a famous author to his bungalow to discuss something over a cup of tea. The author was ushered into a spacious library. Since all authors are lovers of books, he ran his eyes on the shelves packed tight with many thousands of handsome leather-bound volumes. As he was feasting his eyes on the rows of books, he noticed a number of his own works.

A few minutes later he remarked to his host, “I see that you have some of my fictional writings on your shelves”.

The millionaire smiled and said, “Have I?”

Like this millionaire, many people are inclined to regard books as they would ornamental furniture, gadgets to decorate their homes and display to friends and acquaintances.

One need not be like the millionaire. Books are, after all meant to be read. It is true that the very presence of books in one’s study or living room is a part of the scholarship. It is also true that through the medium of the printed word a host of great writers are at our service, ready to pass on to us their wide understanding of humanity and the world.

Books of the right kind can be of real assistance in tackling the innumerable problems that arise in the course of our daily life – at work and in the home. A reliable and up-to-date encyclopedia, for example, can answer almost any question under the sun as well as the moon. A row of handy reference volumes will always stand their owner in good stead; he can turn to them thankfully in many an emergency, great and small. Such volumes if arranged properly in showcases will enhance the beauty of the house.

Open bookshelves, though cost wise cheaper than closed cupboards fitted with glasses, need regular attention unless the house is dust free. Closed cupboards, though they can safeguard the books from the invasion of dust, they cannot help freeing the books from beetles and worms that come from nowhere. And so bookshelves, be they open or closed, need attention. Anything that has to remain beautiful has to be beautified.

There can be no ‘spending on’ books, but only ‘investing in’ books. When you buy books of your choice you are not poorer but only richer by a few thousand rupees. No investment can be sounder. Prosperity, security, comfort can all be brought within reach by proper use of books.

As we are very moody beings, it is better to stack our shelves with books for every mood and every-minute, books that uplift, books that are of use in the practical affairs of life, books that amuse and please. Be a wise book buyer to fill your shelves with a carefully proportioned assortment of different types.

Once the bookshelves, be they open or closed all depending upon your purse and the space you can spare for them, are ready, then start with the wonderful storehouse of world’s great literature. These are books for all seasons and times. But don’t stop with them.

Try to get books that inform us of new and exciting things about the great world around us. Biographies of great men and women to capture the elusive secrets of their success and fame and happiness – all these books in clear and simple language will be an added asset.

A well-balanced and attractive home library, neatly arranged and kept for proper use, is a real puller that ungrudgingly gives cerebral pleasure and grudgingly allows its owner to spend his or her leisure hours away from it.

Make books an integral part of your life. Disciplined reading is a profitable investment; you can be sure of the valuable returns in the form of deeper knowledge, wider understanding and truer insight. Why shirk the investment and what are you waiting for?

About the author: P. Raja

P.Raja (October 07, 1952) a son of this divine soil, Pondicherry, India famed for its spiritual heritage, writes in his chosen language, English, and also in his mother tongue, Tamil. More than 5000 of his works – poems, short stories, interviews, articles, book reviews, plays, skits, features and novellas – have seen the light through newspapers and magazines that number to 350 in both India and elsewhere. He has 30 books for adults and 8 books for children in English and 14 books in Tamil. Apart from contributing special articles to Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literature in English (London), Encyclopedia of Tamil Literature in English, and to several other edited volumes, he has also written scripts for Television (Delhi). He broadcasts his short stories and poems from All India Radio, Pondicherry. He was General Council Member of Central Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi (English Advisory Board - 2008-2012) representing the Pondicherry University. He is Editor of TRANSFIRE, a literary quarterly devoted to translations from various languages into English. His website: www.professorraja.comAuthor can be reached at [email protected]

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