Before the Internet, I read. Books were my paradise; my corner of safety, silence far from all the noise. My corner and my book were all I needed to survive. Was reading my escape? Yes it was and no it was not. I mean, reading transported me to another world but it also gave me the ammunition to deal with the world around me. I was an avid reader. I always have a book in hand in case I have time to read it. Always. I was reading in the car; to and from the places. I was reading in the restaurant while waiting for our meal. I didn’t care what people thought. I would just read. I finished a book every three or four days.
But as life got busier, the ratio became one pound per week, then one pound per month. But I kept reading no matter what. I liked being lost in the world of fiction and sometimes even non-fiction. Autobiographies of famous people intrigued me. I could learn from their experiences and I could use those skills and strategies in my own life. I still remember everything I learned from Lee Iacocca’s autobiography; the American automobile executive who was president of the Chrysler Corporation. Reading his autobiography gave me insight into the world of corporate bureaucracy and also helped develop a strong business sense in me.
And on the fiction side, it was Agatha Christie that I liked the most. I also loved the classics. Daphne Du Maurier, stories from Somerset Maugham and possibly contemporary writer Jeffrey Archer. There was very little that didn’t intrigue me and there was so much to read in a very short time.
Eventually, as I grew older and was to enter the world of adulthood, I found friends who shared my passion for reading just as well. And I loved sitting down with them and discussing the plots and the characters that we had engaged with in the books that we shared interests in.
And when it came to getting married, I was very lucky to have found a kindred spirit in Fawad who also loved to read. “Going out” for us meant going to literature festivals and book fairs, followed by dinner, after which we looked forward to a quiet evening of reading. Since our children arrived so late in life, it only gave us more time to pursue our individual passions in work but also in pleasure as well. I still remember the first meaningful gift I received from Fawad after our engagement. It was a collection of books by James Herriot; all!
I wanted to show Fawad that not only was I an avid reader but I also had a fun side and that humor was very important to me. In addition, I loved nature and animals. On the contrary, Fawad was shocked to receive the large bag which contained not one but four books; tie everything neatly with a red ribbon and a card. This card explained why I needed him to love books as much as I do. He needed to understand that there was more to me than being a traditional desi wife. I was more than the typical cast of a perfect woman who was only seen and not heard. Who cleaned and cooked and had babies and cared for in-laws and guests and was always smiling. Oh my god, do people still think that’s what it means to have a wife or daughter-in-law. I mean there was so much more. She’s a human being for God’s sake.
Suffice to say that the few contacts we had at the time; being a match-fixer, I felt that by giving him these books and making him read, he would understand the kind of person I was. My parents were shocked that I did that. But I knew that if he didn’t get that, he would never have me and that it was better to end it now. But Fawad realized, in fact, that he had even read a few James Herriot stories in Reader’s Digest and was equally fascinated to read more. I was on top, happy and relieved. I knew I had found the right match.
I also wanted Fawad to know that I had no unreasonable expectations of him either. A husband is not just someone who comes home every night with wads of cash for a wife to spend. Nor is he someone who will always be there to cater to her every whim and need. He is also a human being with many angles and facets and understanding them is just as important as being understood. I also took on this role.
Through our love of common interests, I wanted us to be a couple that truly became soul mates and weren’t just there for the kids.
Hmm; I feel like I’ve digressed on the subject. I wanted to tell you all how reading these days has been taken over by my love and passion for movies and TV shows and I have it all on the internet. Before, I read before going to sleep and now I watch my favorite shows.
Looking back, how bad is that? I mean a person literally enslaved all day on tasks that don’t interest him most of the time. And after spending time with their family, what did they do for themselves? There comes Netflix to save the day.
(So, with that out of the way. We managed to kill the creativity of a generation and introduce something to not only keep them busy, but to further strangle their revolutionary ideas if there were any. Meh.)
And lately, Netflix hasn’t been disappointing. I recently completed two very engaging shows that opened my eyes to the world of drug cartels and money laundering and also fraud. Both shows proved one thing beyond doubt that crime doesn’t pay. Marty Byrd in Ozark tries and tries and tries to get out of the rut he’s in but can’t and no matter how passionate Anna Delvey was to start her art foundation and tried to convince everyone that was a German heiress and tried to start a legitimate business; the truth caught up with her. She was only seen as a fraud and a wannabe.
So, is it so bad to watch movies? Swap reading for a good TV show or movie? I’d say watching a show isn’t a substitute for reading a book, but that’s not bad on its own. I mean, we should all still be reading, don’t get me wrong. But I think somehow we still feed the creative parts of our minds. I mean, going to art galleries or watching plays in the theater are also ways to improve our mind, so why is Netflix a waste of time? •