You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy books and that’s one and the same thing.

I have a confession to make. Reading so many out-of-this-world-literally-because-they-are-filled-with-crazy-ideas books have made me somewhat fanatical as well. This took a rather ugly turn yesterday when an unwelcome and terrifying thought popped into my head.

What if books were illegal? Naturally, my first instinct was to nip this unwelcome thought in the bud. But,as is the case with so many unwelcome thoughts, it grew and grew till I had no choice but to unleash this monster to the world.

This is what my worst nightmare looks like:

Waking up to an empty bedside table, all of my coffee-stained books with ratty bookmarks gone. Suddenly, I hear something and screech as though someone is stabbing my stomach. On second thought, that might be easier to handle. It’s the sound that can make a bookworm’s skin crawl. The sound of tearing pages fills the air. I jump up, ready to protest before I remember the new government rule: Old books to be used as kindle for fire.

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Walking down the street, I see all the book stores being converted to police lock-ups, thousands of books being piled up and taken to the dump, bookstore owners being arrested. I run forward, ready to take on an armed squad before I remember the new government rule: Bookstore owners to be prosecuted for treason.

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Slowly, as days stretch into months, the world starts losing its intellect, passion and mind. Humans are turned into robots, children grow up without the power of imagination, thousands of bookworms are facing social extinction.

Did the last part hit too close to home? Because as far as I can tell, humans are losing the emotional side of their soul looking at blank screens all day long. Children, now presented with cartoon characters teaching them how to lie, cheat and being rude to their parents, spend the most crucial days of their life without trips to garage sales, dog-eared pages and fresh paper smell. Today, bookworms are basically considered to be nerds because sitting in an armchair, putting on reading glasses and having an emotional joyride of experiences isn’t ‘cool’ anymore.

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Yet we underestimate the power of books. The simple fact is this: they are irreplaceable. Because we don’t have and will never have something else that brings characters to life in a reader’s mind, in a way that feels familiar, yet new and exhilarating at the same time.

Or, as an expert said,

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, the man who never reads lives only one- George R.R. Martin.

Lamya Darukhanawala