I got into reading the way most kids do.
Due to an illness.
I am 11 and I have chicken pox and everything sucks. My mom won’t let me go down to play, the other moms won’t let their kids visit me. I can’t go to school and our TV is broken. There is literally nothing to do. Absolutely nothing. Nada. So, my mom says sitting next to me “Why don’t you read this?”, I look at the 400 page-novel with a horror-stricken face and then at her and then back at the novel. Why did my mother think I would read that thing when I had not read a single thing before that in my life was beyond me but I must have been really bored because I went ahead and did it anyway.
Not only did I finish that humongous novel, but I also loved it so much that I read the next one and the one after that and all the ones before that and I slowly started to come to a realization that has stuck with me throughout these past 7 years.
Reading is kind of awesome.
And it helped me forget all about the injections and the doctor visits and everything depressing about the situation.
Reading sort of makes being alone great and that's a hard thing to achieve these days. Being alone with the mind is a formidable thing and reading helps you do that.
I am 15 and we are to shift houses soon. I really, really don’t wanna go. I like this place, I like my home. I like my park, and my friends, and my school, and everything sort of fits, you know? I fit. I belong.
And I really am in no mood to just pack up my bags and go somewhere alien. Fit in again. Learn again, in fact, maybe even de-learn the stuff I learned here and it’s scary and it’s horrible and again it feels like too much is being asked of me.
Needless to say, I am annoyed. And angry. And scared.
But my parents don’t know that neither does my brother. This decision was sort of an unsure one and everybody’s on the edge. I have to act strong, I have to act sure for my brother’s sake at least if not for my parents. So, basically for the whole day I have been putting on a brave face and joking around the house. After taking a last round of the place I come back and am sitting in an almost empty room on a mattress with the TV on and quite fittingly the last episode of ‘Friends’ is on.
Seriously God? Is my first thought once I realize which episode was playing. I scoff. I am already trying to control my emotions and this is the last thing I need right now.
Weirdly enough, I do not cry. Not once. I laugh, actually. I laugh to all the right beats in the show like it’s a well-versed thing. Enter Chandler with his witty one-liner then Phoebe with her zingy ideas and Monica freaking out as always. I watch the episode quite rapt and suddenly indifferent to the emotional baggage I had been carrying around the whole day and it feels …nice. It feels damn nice to just sit and forget and be. To just be there with the jokes and the light-hearted plot. They give their incredibly emotional monologue and leave and I am still doing fine until I am not. It suddenly hits me that it’s probably the last time I would be watching that TV show in that house and whoo boy that is not a great thought. That is depressing, to be honest, but I hardly have time to wallow on this sad revelation when a promo pops up.
‘You didn’t want them to go so guess what? They are staying! We will be showing friends from season 1 episode 1 from Monday 9 pm so be there! Could anything be more awesome?’
There you go. Emotional crisis averted. I slept pretty great that night with this strange comfort with me.
I think at the end of it all that’s what art is to me (yes, yes I can feel all the pretentious people shaking their heads at me for calling “Friends” art but this is my piece so shhh).
Comfort. Whether it be my dad promising me that mom would return by the time he finishes the story and me falling asleep somewhere between waiting but mostly enjoying whatever it was that night that he decided to recite, (and dad c’mon you do recite. You don’t simply read. Lawyers, I tell you there is absolutely nothing that they can’t read out dramatically) or watching sitcoms after getting my root canal done to distract myself from the pain.
Reading books and watching tv shows have always been a little bit more to me than just reading books and just watching tv shows. They save me time and time again. They save me from thinking too much and from bad days which felt like too much.
I have always found comfort in words whether my own or someone else’s. I rapped to Hamilton during my boards, I like to watch Ghibli movies on new years eve, my best friend and I always had a sleepover whenever the new season of Sherlock came out. I like to watch Brooklyn 99 after bad days, I like to read my nana’s Russian book whenever I miss him because he has underlined his favorite lines. I love art. It makes up for a big part of my life and I am pretty damn well off because of it.
I never stop learning about this world of mine and yours and ours because of it. I never stop learning, I never stop appreciating the better things in life because of it so when I say that art comforts me and that I love it, I hope you don’t picture some intellectual standing there with a fancy hat appreciating drawings in a museum or anything (though there is nothing wrong if you happen to be the sort of person who likes doing that or wearing fancy hats) but rather the most mundane person ever, doing the most mundane things ever.
Art is magical and beautiful and sometimes it’s just a sitcom script.