The Author: Ms. Cherry Goyal heads the Department of English at MGD Girls’ School, Jaipur

 

The saying, “A family that eats together stays together”. It has been like that but I’d like it to be – A Family that reads together stays together and grows together in the new Normal #Stayindoors #Staysafe.

Seneca said, “As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”

Learning to live involves not just the development of the human race but also its ability to evolve; empower and sustain itself. And one important contributor in this zest is ‘language acquisition and competence’ that comes through a passive yet so proactive activity – Reading! That’s what we’ve been doing for these 40-45 days, learning as a race, perhaps reading also as a race, reading newspapers, articles, jokes, Covid news, Mrs Funnybones (if you may), and all to reading all labels on bottles.

Reading has given the human race wings; wings that have contributed in global expansion and nothing short of a quantum leap. It fulfills the purpose of knowing, analyzing, debating, synthesizing, realizing and to everyone’s relief in our own corners. It gets us without actually getting us; it saves so much of the otherwise social stigma, public shame, it also gives us the required ‘know-how’ of things.

Recently I read these lines from Tony Morrison, “Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” Sounds feminist, sure but isn’t it so true for Reading. It gives us freedom to think and at the same time Reading also gives reigns to that otherwise wild human spirit in your hands. Call it ownership or otherwise.

As a parent and a language teacher in the present time I feel that we are using technology and language to make friends everywhere but sometimes we are not able to touch the hearts of our own children, parents, siblings, friends, etc.

It’s here that I feel the need of reading together as a family is so evident, it gives you that ‘free space’…, where can we talk without judging….., where we can sustain a friendly conversation…. after reading about the great epic Mahabharata and the innate flaws in its men; the poetry of Eliot, the Wasteland that actually is not wasted or the Pride of Mr. Darcy vs the Prejudice of so many (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen).

It is here that I’d like to reiterate the value and importance of reading, it sure make a MAN. If we cannot read to and with our children then have we really learnt to live?

I feel it is very important to use reading to create a system that connects space, time and people. Let’s use it to bind, to unwind and to be kind.

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