The Loss Of A Habit

A long time back I had read about this quote.

~~ Good habits, once established are just as hard to break as are bad habits.
~~~~ Robert Puller

Well, when I read this one, I prayed to God that all the good habits that I posses stay with me, forever.

But sadly, in recent months, I have lost one very good habit which I possessed. A habit which I deeply cherished. A habit which made me many a precious friend. A habit which started countless discussions in innumerable situations.

It is the habit of Reading. It was the habit of Reading.

Sadly, I have lost the habit of reading in all its forms. Be it news papers, or magazines, or books. All of it.

There was a time when I used to start my day with reading of the newspapers. I would go through all the pages and read the most eye-catching ones first. I would also make a mental bookmark of the articles that I needed to catch up later in the day - possibly over the evening tea or while having dinner.

But off late, early morning sleep has been more precious. The only thing after getting up is to get ready and head off to work. This has made reading of the news papers a rarity.

The only solace is the fact is that I manage to catch up with the online newspapers - spending a maximum of 20-30 minutes a day on it. But it does not give the same satisfaction as that of reading a "real" news paper. What's bad is the fact that the quality of news articles that show up on the first page of the website are not upto the mark or diverse enough to give me full fledged information about the going on's in the world.

Next one is the habit of reading books. I was a voracious reader at one point of time - gulping upto three books a month in my tight schedule. Reading was the most common pastime over the weekends and holidays. I enjoyed reading about any topic under the sun - fiction, non-fiction, thrillers, comics, romance, business, biographies - the list was endless.

Back in school, during the summer vacations, I used to enroll at the local library. It used to offer a facility to take two books at a time, for sixty rupees a month. 

I used to make the best use of that opportunity by reading two books a day. And most importantly, every school year - wait for the vacations to arrive.  

But then came my personal computer - only to steal away the company of my humble books. Enticing Electronics took over the humble Paper.

This picture made me wonder whether it was the same me who used to read the Harry Potter books on the same day of they being released, keeping every other thing on the sun aside, only to finish the book and get to the end of the mystery. With Harry Potter, the mystery never ended.

I would also love to read before sleep. Falling asleep while reading was one of the pleasures life used to offer.

I maintained an online compilation of the books I had read and I planned to read. Shelfari was the website where I maintained this list. It took me quite a while even to recollect this website. I had to take support of my email to do so. That explains the gravity with which I have lost it all.

And then came the habit of blogging. Blogging, like Reading, is quite addictive. And for the last few months, it has been Blogging Vs Reading. Blogging has won hands down.

The advent of movie franchisees has been another factor which led to this situation. Twilight has been one of the most sucessfull novel series in the last couple of years, and I was keen to check it out - by reading. Ultimately, I ended up seeing the movies - killing any chance of reading the books.

Another thing which has contributed to this downfall is the short articles that we read on the internet. Although they are easy to grasp, they have resulted in a reduced attention span. And a reduced attention span does not make life easy for reading books.

There was a time when every alternate shopping trip with friends consisted of visiting the neighboring book store. Flipping through the books, looking for interesting stuff was a great way to pass time and connect. And If something caught you eye, by God's grace, you could buy it. And make the best utilization of the purchase by sharing it with your friends.

These days I force myself to get a few of books - every few months - just in the hope of kick starting back the habit. Or maybe read some magazines to develop the interest back.

The only book that I can remember of reading in recent times - without putting it down - was "Freakonomics". I loved the concept of the book and the answers put down to simple, real world, questions.

Books make you think, and that was the case with "Freakonomics" too. I had purchased this book while traveling for work - over the Xmas weekend. Incidentally, the travel back home was delayed due to bad weather, delayed flights and a shutdown airport (in the capital city of the biggest country on the earth). 

Made me wonder - Why do we have all the travel troubles in the midst of the holiday season?? If you have read "Freakonomics", you will acknowledge that this is one question which the authors of the book would love to answer - with their excellent analysis.

This loss has been hurting me more over the last few days - since I discussed books with two people. Some one told me that she had slept only at 2.30 in the morning - because she couldn't sense the time while reading. That made me jealous. That made me recollect my old times. 

And someone else told me that her favorite book was "The Kite Runner". And I professed that "To Kill A Mocking Bird" is my favorite. Incidentally, this lady was able to recollect the most significant line of this book - thanks to her sharp memory. 

~~ "Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
~~~~ Atticus Finch, in To Kill a Mockingbird. 

All this made me wonder - maybe it is time to revive this wonderful habit. I can't make a resolution, because, they say that resolutions are meant to be broken. But an attempt can be certainly made.

If wishes were horses, and horses could fly, I would also love J.K. Rowling to start writing again. Her narration was awesome and reading her books kept me engaged for hours altogether. 

A visit to the bookstore at my office could also help. They offer a generous discount of 10% on every book that you buy.

Maybe the help of the good old "Reader's Digest" can be sought. It's short articles might help to tide over the attention span problem. And once that's taken care, a good flowing book can bring back the good old days. 

A few of them are already in the pipe line - an almost biography of Winston Churchill, a book by N.R. Narayana Murthy on the Indian society - A Better India, A Better World, and a book with the name - Flirting With Disaster.

Well, only time can tell whether I will be sucessfull in my endeavour. A worthwhile resolution could be to come back to this blogpost and leave a comment on completely reading the above mentioned three books. Let's see how soon it happens.

And have you lost any habit recently? Was it for the good or bad? And if it was for the bad, I certainly hope that you are taking those small steps back - to reclaim that habit which was a wonderful part of your life.
The Loss Of A Habit The Loss Of A Habit Reviewed by Vyankatesh on Monday, March 28, 2011 Rating: 5


  1. Indeed, it is so easy to skip out on reading, but there are few things in this world as sweet as stepping into the pages of a well crafted novel for the first time.

  2. Second that Jason!! Thanks for dropping by!!

  3. During the childhood days, reading habit is inculcated in most of us but sadly the tides of time bury it under and our busy schedules never permit to get it back!
    I think you should try and buy some good novel and read at least 2-3 pages each day, that way i guess things will start rolling on, i personally do this whenever I end up getting too busy and overlooking things i like.
    happy reading :)


  4. A good idea indeed Sarah :-) Hoping to implement it.