My unfamiliarity with LinkedIn didn’t stop me from mashing keys and eagerly posting a blurb about my first published book on my own page. After all, I had dozens of followers who were marginally interested in my clumsy transition from an IT Systems Engineer to Published Author and several people who expressed a vague interest in reading my book. One day. Maybe.
When a second button appeared on my screen asking if I wanted to share my post in a writer’s group, that I had joined only seconds earlier, I clicked it without a coherent thought and forgot about it. Little did I know that this random act of careless clicking would lead me down a path where I connected with the author Ashwini Rudra and a promise to read his latest book, “Delhi via Lucknow: Once, love travelled this route”
The day the book arrived; our two-year-old daughter had decided that she was done wearing diapers, despite not being potty trained, and our five-year-old son had learned how to sing Baa-Baa Black sheep on what felt like endless repeat. To say our home was chaotic feels like an understatement. Yet, there I was holding the amazon package that contained a real, printed, book, while our two kids were literally trying to crawl up my legs to snatch the package from my hands.
My intentions to read printed books are often unrealized. I have a pile of books from new authors, yet I spent my free time listening to audio books. I recognize and empathize with both new authors, like myself, who want people to buy and read newly published books, and with the readers who have the best of intentions and the worst of follow through. I regularly come across people who have purchased my book, sometimes they even show me pictures, and then tell me that they’re going to read it soon. It is at that moment that I make a mental note to never bring it up again, as obligation and leisure cancel each other out.
Experience has taught me that it is wise to be impeccable with my word, so I make an active choice to not commit to anything I do not realistically intend on completing. Some days I commit to nothing and think laziness is the better alternative to failed actions, even with the best of intentions. It is for this reason alone that I felt a bit of panic as I held a book that I had committed to read while the chaos of my small children swirled around me.
The first three chapters were hard earned. My dyslexia fueled confusion as a parade of new Hindi words appeared in the story line. I’ve worked my entire adult life to dominate my dyslexia by continually expanding my vocabulary and skipping over unknown words without context left me in conflict. By the second chapter I had started a list and every few pages I’d stop and google the words I didn’t understand. I reached out to Ashwini, and he assured me that the reference to Hindi words was not paramount to the story line. So, I weakened my resolve and tried to just relax and read.
The next few chapters I read while the children were at Montessori. The book was starting to feel comfortable as it ventured back to the 2000’s and into sorted tails of friends, academic struggles, thugs, and love in India. By the time the children were at home, and I was hurriedly trying to finish my neglected domestic duties, while Bollywood music played loudly, and I sang along with such rank that it drowned out my son’s renditions of Baa-baa black sheep.
That night my mind drifted to a place of romance and nostalgia; just as intended by the author. I awoke at midnight and spent the next four and half hours reading and then googling Hindi words, until the book was complete. Turns out Delhi via Lucknow is a very good book written with such careful intensity and humor that it transcends cultural bounds.
Yesterday, the consequences of late-night reading were minimal as I listened to “Wo Ladki Bahot Yaad Aati Hai” and contemplated what a KFC Ginger Chicken Burger tastes like. While the story touches on more serious implications and struggles of young Indians in both love and academics, the coming age love-triangle story is easy to enjoy and inspires nostalgia for late 90’s and 2000’s. Delhi via Lucknow is a comfortable and entertaining read with relatable characters, even if I doubt my ability to properly pronounce their names.
This morning I received a text from a woman reading my book who stated she was up late reading, despite having to go to work in the early morning. Her compliment hit close to home as I feel her conflict. Sleep disruptions have consequences, whether we want to admit to them or not. When everyone else was asleep, was the perfect time for me to embark on a magical journey to Delhi via Lucknow. But it is not something I wish to make a habit of.
During breakfast today, my husband casually mentioned that his best friend, a professional with a PhD, said that his is literally incapable of reading my book (or any book), despite his best intentions. He was happy to hear that my current and future Oddment series books will soon be available on audible. For many people the non-stop pulse of life makes reading for leisure seem impossible while the easy rewind of an audiobook is welcoming.
Today, I will be gentle with those who declare their intentions to read my book but don’t, and practice empathy for those struggling to find leisure time that is truly free from obligations. I will also remember that some things in life, like a good book, are well worth a bad case of the yawns.