Wednesday, 12 May 2010


Undergoing a period of reading which stutters, I am lost for words. Three books sit upon the desk. The first has a blue and purple cover and a photograph of a cloud, lurid luminescent text slanting across the top half. The second is typically institutional, the subject of the biography portrayed in a small rectangle, odd abstract colourations elsewhere mix with wildly incongruent fonts. The third cover is captivating; a train pulls into Victoria Terminus, Mumbai, the platform heavy with passengers, a blur of movement.

But none of them are being read, not properly. They stack upon each other, cumulatively, a doorstop of failure. Involuntary halts, barriers and blockades occur daily, reading unable to progress.

The problem is not for want of will, nor for want of the simple (revered) ability to read. Anxiety, however, moves into view, storm and stress begins a process of self stigmatization, the problem unfolds and squares itself through a system of positive feedback. The less I read, the less I read.

Some days are better, the system varies. Some days I want bold, expansive fiction and soon I am holding 1079 bible-thin pages in my hand. On others, the musical biography takes on new import and I get through a page or two. Indian politics appears in the news, I reach for the third. Then, just as quickly, the fluency dissipates, rainwater down a storm-drain.

The exact cause, I cannot determine. Perhaps genetic, perhaps neurophysiological, perhaps behavioral. I consider therapy, aversion treatment, help groups, religious confession, prescribed medication, regular exercise, exotic holidays, fundamental transmogrification. Nothing happens though, pages remain unturned. Next to me, a brown-haired girl tears through page after page, hungrily consuming her next plotline, her next character, her next fact and history. There is no cure for the disorder at present.

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