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The Companion

On a fine and calm morning, with a beautiful breeze, I am running late for college with a piece of toast in my mouth, my bag on my shoulder and, of course, my phone in one hand and the other one helping me tie my laces. It is just like any other day of my life when I am on the verge of running to my college as I doubt that I might miss my lecture. Marching towards the metro station, this is the only thing on my mind when I realise that my bag seems a little light on my shoulders, as if there were something missing. Something which I usually carry is not in there.

And then I realised that I had forgotten my novel on the side table of my room. I stopped on the road and checked my bag and guess what? I was right, how could I have been so foolish so as to forget my novel. I turned around and started walking towards home and called my mom to ask her to give me my novel. As soon as I saw it in her hand I smiled and rushed back while shouting ‘thank you’. Yes, I was getting late but still, I went back home to get my novel. No, I am not a literature student, but I am a reader.

How can I even think of travelling without my companion, I cannot. My books, my reading material has always been my first preference while choosing between things. I may ditch my friends for an outing if I am stuck on a very crucial part of the story. Now I have my phone in one hand and my book in the other and I just recall what all I had read last night, where I left my story, and once again, and I am excited to start from the same point, to see what happens next. So I start walking faster to reach the entrance of the metro station so that I can hurry up.

I wonder what will happen next, how will Sherlock find the clue for this case, though I cannot doubt him as I trust his skills”, I thought while rushing downstairs to reach the platform. One good thing about the Delhi Metro is that it is calm. All you hear are announcements, once in Hindi and once in English, instructing you to be safe and follow certain rules, and the time left for the arrival of the next metro. I especially like the atmosphere, the scent of the metro station, away from the harsh sunlight, with an unusually high ceiling, surrounded by beautifully decorated walls, giving you a glimpse of the nearby places, and the smooth, almost-slippery floor on which I prefer walking slowly because I can slip any second, considering the sandals I wear.

When the metro arrives, I feel good as now I can start reading my book in peace and there will be no one to disturb me while reading, though the metro is full of passengers and I can’t even think of sitting, because getting a seat during the hours I travel is a dream indeed, which has very little probability of coming true. The metro, despite being full of people, is still a place of solitude for me. No one knows me other than my book. I can read in peace and understand what the author wants me to understand. Whenever my friend sees me reading Sherlock, she always recommends that I watch the series, but I always refuse, saying, “For you, Benedict Cumberbatch is Sherlock, but honey, I have my own Sherlock. My books give me the liberty to imagine my own characters, they allow me to feel and think according to my own expectations. My Sherlock might not look like the one in the series, but he is someone I would prefer looking at,” and hearing this, she just laughs. People do not understand the charm of looking at a page for minutes in utter silence and reading it for the fourth time in a row just because the words used are so perfect, like beautiful pink pearls threaded in a silver string (and sometimes because you were so busy distractedly people-watching in the metro, that you forgot to pay attention to the story!) That excitement, that beauty which the words hold, those can never be found anywhere else.

Words and books hold so much strength that they can make you fall for them. A single paragraph from a good book can make you want to read the entire series. It can make you spend weeks of sleepless nights spent just reading and wondering about the surprise that the next page holds for you. I am not a movie person, I do not like watching adaptations, they seem to make the content feel cold and lifeless, I feel that there is nothing for the audience to do, you just need to sit and watch, whereas a book allows you to imagine, and the secret behind my never-ending love for books is that I can see, I can see everything which the words try to show me.

As all these thoughts stream through my mind, I realise that my station has come and the person, who looks at me daily while I walk past this platform, is standing right there, again, gazing into the book, just like every other day. I almost make up my mind to confront him, but decide to let it go because, at the moment, attendance is all that matters. While walking towards the escalator I almost feel sad for having reached my destination, as I do every day, and forlornly put my book in my bag, ready to face the world once again, rejuvenated.

Focusing on Literature and Lifestyle of the Urban Youth of the Country, LitGleam is a monthly magazine, an intrinsic part of BlueRose Publishers.

Within its pages, our readers find provocative essays on literature and lifestyle, guidance for getting published and pursuing writing careers, in-depth profiles of poets, fiction writers, and writers of creative nonfiction, and conversations among fellow professionals.

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