Memorial day of father of library movement : Kerala reading day

Memorial day of father of library movement : Kerala reading day

Reading is a great phenomenon that gives visual perception through words. As George R. R. Martin said, "The reader lives a thousand births before death; but he who does not read, has only a single life." Because when we see ourselves as characters in the works we read, we learn from the good and bad experiences in their lives. Thus reading classics teaches us life.

In Kerala, June 19th, the memorial day of Shri. P. N. Panicker who is known as the father of library movement in the state, is observed as the 'Reading Day'.

When we Read Ernest Hemingway's Nobel Prize - winning novel 'The Old Man and the Sea', it shows us man's unquenchable thirst for great achievements, and when he seems to have achieved everything, they are instantaneous.

If we take the Shakespearean characters, Macbeth portrays how the lust for power leads one to self-destruction, King Lear shows the plight of a father during old age, who likes to brag and does not understand his children properly and Othello reflects the condition of a husband who, believing others, suspects his wife.

Benefits of reading
There are many benefits of reading, such as
• Proficiency in the language
• Intellectual development
• High self-confidence
• High level of attention
• High analytical efficiency
• Broad perspective
• Relief from conflict
• High creativity
• Strengthens the brain
• Makes one smart

Emotional Quotient
Emotional Quotient (E.Q) is an important quality that we need to acquire for a successful life.

Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to properly understand, identify, use, and manage emotions.
Emotional intelligence is not taught. Instead, we acquire it through study, by living in society, reading and so on. We need to realise that if children go astray and injustice and violence are rampant in the society despite education, there is a lack of emotional intelligence in the society. Reading is the best way to develop emotional intelligence because it takes us through all sorts of emotions; through  sadness, joy, love, jealousy and forgiveness. It helps us to grow emotionally. It teaches us how to react and also, how not to react.

Reading the novel 'The Alchemist', one learns how to approach the multitude of obstacles in life in a positive way. When we read about the life of Mother Teresa and the stories of Tolstoy, we unknowingly become sympathetic. Reading the biographies of Nelson Mandela and Helen Keller inspires us to fight, without giving up, no matter how many failures are there in life.

The life experiences of others provide us with the lessons of immense knowledge. This can range from newspapers to good whatsapp and facebook messages even.

Five elements of emotional intelligence
• Self Awareness
• Self Discipline
• Motivation
• Empathy
• Social Skill
Out of these, empathy is of highest need for the society today. It is the ability to see oneself in the shoes of others.

How to read
Reading is a boring task for most. To change this, one must read the topics of interest initially.
I have heard the story of a boy named Raymond. He did not like reading at all. Neither did he know how to read. However, he was very fond of the images of terrifying creatures. Every year in a shop in his hometown, new images of such creatures were sold. He used to buy them and keep. One day when he went to the shop the shopkeeper was reading a book. He asked, "What is the connection between the shop and the book?" The shopkeeper said: “These books give me ideas about the creatures. Take and read this book”. The shopkeeper gave him the book. He was confused, not even knowing how to hold the book properly.

Then the shopkeeper said, "Hold the book 15 cm away, now read through the words, and if your eyes reach for more words, you can speed up the reading."

He tried but could not grasp anything. The shopkeeper said, "It's not enough to just read; it's fun to read, if you understand the meaning of words and get into the writer's imagination".

When he read the next time, he could see a fearsome creature in imagination. When he read the next page, he saw another creature there. Soon, he bought the book and rushed back home. He was never seen again without a book.

One should realize the purpose of reading, choose a topic of his interest, before start reading. Remember, if there are more than six new words in a page, then that is way above your standards. Always remember to choose a book that is simple.

As Charles W. Elliott puts it; "Books are good friends who are calm and always there; wise counsellors who are approachable at all times, and patient teachers."

Let us love reading, and love the books that show us coloured dreams through open eyes, for our betterment.

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