I am quite sleepy, and decide to call it a night. I set the alarm on my phone for six thirty in the morning. Ah! the absolute joy of sleep – after what’s been a really long day! The cool sheets are soothing, and the soft hum of the aircon lulls me to sleep.
I am far away in a land unknown; a land that is inhabited by people that I don’t recognize. And as I am fully engaged in my dreams, my phone trills loudly. The trilling cuts like a saw through the soft layers of my sleep. I groan in irritation, is it morning already!!! “Not fair”, I mumble. It feels like I just went to sleep. I stretch out my hand to switch off the annoying alarm.
I open my eyes into thin slits to press ‘snooze’, but it’s only then that I realize that it is my daughter who is calling from a different time zone. My irritation vanishes; I am alert and fully awake now, and I pick up her call with a huge smile on my face.
She sounds so excited when she greets me! We exchange sweet pleasantries! And then she says, “Amma, I am in a quaint bookshop and I just found a collection of poems for you.”
She knows my love for books and poetry! I am very excited. She adds, “Guess what? This book was published in 1929. Can you believe that? 1929; it’s ninety-two years old!”
She quickly turns her phone’s camera towards the book. The book has a faded blue cover. Its pages are yellowed with age. My daughter points out to the first page. It has the name of the owner and the name of a college. Inside the book, at many places, one can see pencil annotations.
I sigh in pleasure. My daughter reads out the names of the poems that are featured in the book. I recognize some of them.
I wonder how many people have read this book over these ninety-two years. The contents of the book have not changed, but the poets who wrote those poems are no longer here. The world has also gone through so many changes!
My daughter says that she has to go now. As I hang up, a sense of timelessness pervades me. Most things around us keep changing, but good books and poetry remain for all time, lighting up our lives with their beauty and profundity.
I go back to sleep with a sigh of pure contentment!