Palimpsest (Family)

Two days ago, it so happened that I was passing by my bookshelves and my glance fell on a book. Given by a friend, to read and return, it lied pensively, giving me nasty stares with a disdain for my delay in meeting it. So, on impulse (and driven by a bit of guilt), I picked it up to read. Of course, it helped that the author was a favorite one.

I was only at the fifth page when I encountered a  few words, scribbled in fading blue ink on the left side of a paragraph. Well, it is not the first time I have come across a scribbling on a book. People have a bad, nagging habit of doing it on books from the public libraries and I have had my share of blue and black, indecipherable pulp leaping at me suddenly. But this one was different. Perhaps because it was a book of my friend and the notes, reflective of his mind and interpretations. I was curious of what caught his attention; more so, since that particular highlighted portion didn’t foster any overt resonance with me. So, I paused; read his notes; read the paragraph and his notes again. A little wrinkle of perplexity appeared on my forehead. While the angle he had viewed that paragraph from, was not amiable to me, I could not help shift in my place to cast a glance in that angle after all. Standing in that mental space for a while, I realized that there could be merit in what he thought. And there could not be either. All at once, there seemed to emerge a courtroom in my mind, with the thoughts taking sides of my friend and me and raging a raucous war of supremacy. It was even more surprising that the judge too, was split in two, and there was no way to ascertain the saner of them.

At long last, after considerable argument and counterargument, I realized that I can no longer view that para with one pair of eyes. Another pair has edged its way and colluded my vision with its colours too. The picture I view now, contains two sets of visions, a product of two sets of eyes and almost making the reading surface a stirring palimpsest.

Whether group bird watching is fun or not is debatable but it sure is turning out an intriguing exercise for me. This book, with my friend’s notes, will appear in a tad different light than others is what I suppose and wish, for seeing a world through someone else’s eyes is the right of an omni-reader!

[Image courtesy  ]

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