I don’t know who you are. You are probably a 60 year old, retired man who worked as a banker to fulfill family responsibilities. You probably got the time to explore your self and issued this book last year. Maybe, you are an introverted teenager. You are often misunderstood by everybody around you for your hyper-sensitivity and so, you decided to visit this library and issue this book before I decided to take it with me.
Alas, I cannot know who you are. I want to know you because you highlighted the same things that I wanted to, with a pencil. Thank you. I was too lazy to get up and find a pencil. You took the quiz and our answers are EXACTLY the same! I don’t have to add up my scores, so, thanks for understanding my laziness. Thanks for reassuring me that I’m not the only one who liked that bit in the book. We all just want to go home. With readers, sometimes, the home gets lonely. That’s why they have libraries.
It’s beautiful, this relationship of ours. Reading is an intimate activity but libraries blur the lines between personal and public. Libraries are probably the only ‘social’ places where you can celebrate your solitude with others. It’s beautiful when you realize that few people touched this very book, made it a part of their lives for a brief period of time. You can’t help but smile at the paradox: it’s only when you travel alone to your innermost self can you connect with others.
I can of course try to find some information about you. But I don’t want to. I like this mystery. We can know almost everything these days and that can get boring. I like the idea of soulmates getting lost and leaving everything on chance. I like wrong numbers. I like those unexpected friendships on train journeys. I like the notes that some people write in the margins of the book. When I don’t know who you are; I try to imagine your face, your persona, your childhood. Were you sitting while reading this page? Were your struggling with something? Are you even alive? That’s what books are about…they are about imagination and real people.
I cannot talk about you with others. They will call me foolish. But we both know that everything is imagination. Everybody imagines reality, no one knows what it’s really like. Readers know this best.
Who will issue this book after me? Will he/she know the journey of this book? What if the person who issues this book in the future doesn’t return it? Where will the book go then? You see, it’s not just the content of the book that interests me but the people who have read it. And that’s why I go to the library.