“What are you reading now?” my friend asked after our conversation took all the usual turns.
“Well, …” I took a pause rather sheepishly.
“It is strange that you have stopped reading books. I keep on telling you not to write or read blog, it is rather addictive.” He acts old fashioned sometimes. I don’t know exactly why but he is dead against blogging.
“No, no, it is not that. I still have lot of time to read,” I pleaded like a guilty child.
“Good”, he said, “what are you reading?
Now, I can never get him wrong. He loves reading and most of the conversation we have is about books. We exchange lot of books and he is instrumental in introducing me to some wonderful authors.
“You know, lately I have started reading Bengali books. I downloaded the font from internet and finished a hundred pages book. Then, at Kolkata airport I purchased a five hundred pager Bengali novel - ‘PoorNa Chabira Magnataa’. “
We spoke about Bengali terms, Bengali script and the story I was reading.
“You know, at times it becomes tiring for me to read that book at length. The strain of understanding the script makes the act of reading an effort. But I enjoy the book, the language is beautiful indeed.”
He understood it. He said, “I remember your reading of first Guajarati book, was it not the same then?” he added solemnly.
“Incidentally, I am reading Marathi translation of Saat Pagalaa Aakaasha Maa,” I told him. This was the first Guajarati book I had read (in Gujarati) twenty years ago. I added, “Recently I visited Sahitya Academy and purchased this book”.
“That is a good combination – Bengali and Guajarati book”, he teased me.
“And also…” I added.
“And?” he was completely puzzled.
“Well, you remember how serious this Kundanikaa Kapaadiaa book is; I need something light to keep myself away from the burden.” I added little guiltily.
“Hmm.. “ he was lost in thought.
“And which is this third book?” he asked.
“Damsel in Distress by Woodhouse,” I clarified.
“And in what sequence do you read these books?” he showed interest. I explained.
Then we talked about something else for half an hour.
While leaving, he suddenly remembered that I was simultaneously reading three different books in three different languages. He turned to me and said, “Do you know that you have been caught in the net of Multi-Tasking?”
“What?” now I was puzzled.
“You remember, when we were young, we always used to get engrossed in book, forgetting food and sleep, never noticing if someone was calling us.” He became nostalgic. He was right. I was such reader – always jumping into the world created by books.
“And now you are reading three books simultaneously with limited time in hand – and it is not that any of the book is boring, you want to read all those.” I was not sure where the conversation was going.
“However, in our professional and real life too we need to manage various tasks simultaneously. That habit has changed your reading habit too. Now you can’t afford to be engaged in one task, only in one work – you have to be constantly moving from one arena to other and come back to it whenever required.”
Can I come out of this trap of Multi-Tasking?
I don’t know. Let me try.