the year 2020, in books. balancing the desire to be lost with the longing to be found.

Books have meant different things to me – at different points of time in my life. At times, I’ve read to understand and interpret the world. On others, to simply impress and charm. I’ve also read – sometimes – to experience otherness and with a genuine desire to know what it means to be somebody else; to step into someone else’s skin and walk the town in it. 

This year, however, books have been, more than anything else, a means of escape. I’ve read, not to change the world, or illuminate it, but to look for traces of light within me. Look for a flickering lamp in the pits of despair.

I’ve read not to be an activist. Not to change the world. I’ve read to escape and, in trying to escape, find traces of light within me.

Books have helped me look at my own life and loss – in the light of eternity and the vastness of human experience. Through the 60 odd books that I’ve read this year (most of them in the antiseptic corridors of a hospital), I’ve taken heart in knowing that what I’m feeling has been felt before. People before me have stood at similar cross roads; they’ve also looked into the abyss and have – yet – lived-on, loved and embraced life. I’ve felt a sense of camaraderie with literary characters and I’ve shared my lived experiences with them; traded stories with them, wiped their tears and allowed them to comfort me.

It’s been quite a year, but I’m happy to report, that – through books – my desire to be lost has been tempered with the longing to be found. (Billy collins)

I’m certain, that one of these times, and one of these doors that I knock, I’ll open the door to myself, myself.

And, I’m certain, I will find myself this year, or – at any rate – have a helluva time looking for myself!

A Very Happy New Year!

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  1. SR Agarwal

    “The habit of reading is the only one I know in which there is no alloy. It lasts when all other pleasures fade. It will be there to support you when all other resources are gone. It will be present to you when the energies of your body have fallen away from you. It will make your hours pleasant to you as long as you live”.-Anthony Tropollie

    Dear BHARAT SIR, What a year. Books are Dangerous; they can change your life.

    There’s not much you can say about 2020 that doesn’t include some curse words, but I will say this: It provided plenty of time for reading. It provided plenty of things that needed to be read about—from leadership to pandemics to civil rights to elections—this was one of those years that sends you to… well, I would say “the bookstore,” but that was hard, too.

    Anyway, you read a lot and I too read some.

    I request you to narrow down all the books you’ve read (Sixty this year) and share the list so that we less educated can take advantage of your knowledge


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