The Reading Life

You know the manner in which we read a sentence in a foreign tongue? Every letter, every accent, every space; they all matter. After every single word, we gain a new meaning. And as we make our way slowly across, our mouths articulate the words while our minds string together one meaning after another like the beads of a chain. The meaning builds up. And at the end of a sentence, we run out of beads but the chain is complete. And every single bead in it makes absolute sense. Just like the sentence.
Sometimes, I picture a miniature version of myself at the start of a sentence. What I see ahead of me is a path filled with big images that I cannot understand at once. I walk slow and move only after I have comprehend the word. Halfway through the sentence, I start playing guess about the other half; of where the path would end.
But my guesses aren’t all right. I am surprised by a preposition here and a new verb there. I almost give up when I am three letters down an eight lettered mouthful. And I cannot move my feet forward to the next word because I fell in love with the previous word and it’s beauty and elegance has knocked the wind out of me.
But I make it.
I make it to the final word. After a never ending trail of pronunciation mistakes and constant visits to the guiding dictionary, I tread across the last word. As my feet reach the last letter, I turn around. And for the first time, I see clearly. I see the long words and the short ones, the ones that made me cry and the ones that told me a funny tale. I see the commas that functioned as speed breakers and the accents that draped a letter with elegance. I see their purpose and I see their connection.

The meaning is intact like the bead chain.
And finally, I see someone else at the beginning of the sentence. I hope she has half the good time that I had.

Reading. And Living.


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