Do you love travelling? Do you like visiting various lovely destinations on this planet? I do. The excitement I experience while making the travel plans simply cannot be described. And then, the night before the departure, packing the bags fills me with pure glee! Yes, I know that railway stations and airports are quite noisy and crowded. But who minds? The eyes are seeing only the boat rides on the river rapids….. The feet are itching to feel the sea-side sand…. the palms can already feel the fleece-like clouds of the mountains….
But children, we go on holidays to these destinations only once a year, at most. And sometimes only once in two years. But what if I feel like going on these holidays every day? Is it possible to go on a holiday to exotic destinations every day? What about school? Who will do the homework?
Let me share a secret with you…. a secret of my childhood days. Every night, after dinner, a spaceship would take me to various continents of the world like the Sahara desert in Africa whose scorching heat would parch the throats like this…
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On certain nights the spaceship would take me on a dangerous trek into the knee-deep snow of the Tibetan Himalayas…
This magic spaceship has also taken me to the classic Eastern Europe where neighbouring countries were at dispute..
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The far east orient has always remained a mystery for the western world. But the spaceship has taken me to China where I learnt of the ills of contraband drugs that all of us must avoid.
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This magic spaceship taught me that an ancient civilization unexplored by man still dwells in the caves in a remote corner in Peru, South America. That civilization is said to be the descendants of the Sun God.
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This spaceship could go anywhere – even to the moon!
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I learnt about the Belgian genius cartoonist called Georges Prosper Remi who scripted these journeys. Remi was better known as Herge.
Needless to say, this spaceship became my best friend. It connected me with young adventurous children in English villages who, with their inquisitiveness could solve mysteries that even the police could not.
I learnt that the writer who created these adventurous children was a prolific writer. Her name was Enid Blyton.
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Thanks to the spaceship, I got introduced to smart American teenagers like Jupiter Jones, Peter Crenshaw and Bob Andrews who were as fearless as they were sharp. Through them I learnt that there is a master of suspense whose name is Alfred Hitchcock.
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And then of course came the wonderboy Harry Potter whom we all know about.
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So, would you love to own this magic spaceship that will take you on a ride to dreamland every night after dinner? Yes, you can! What is the name of this spaceship and where can you find it? The name of this spaceship is – ‘books’. Book reading is not a task. It is a wonderful journey. Books open up your sense of imagination and sharpen your minds. The young mind has almost infinite capacity to absorb new things. Books help you do that. When I was a young boy there was no television and no Internet. And therefore, no distraction. The aroma of paper and the ink still linger in my nostalgia. While I am no enemy of the TV and the Internet, my view is that these do not let you concentrate because ‘Surfing’ is nothing but ’wavering’. Whereas when you are reading a book, your mind is focussed on the pages and the story. Your mind is making an effort to absorb the facts.
So, reading books is an investment. It gives you the most powerful tool in this world -knowledge. Make a start today…
Mr. Balaji Vittal is the co-author of the President of India's National Award winning book "RD Burman: The Man, The Music".
He has also co-authored the MAMI International Film Festival Award winning book "Gaata Rahe Mera Dil - 50 Classic Hindi Film Songs" and is currently co-authoring two other books".