(First-Prize-winning Essay at TCS Global Essay Competition)
‘Crime and Punishment’by Fyodor Dostoyevsky could never have been better. It is now almost 150 years old. But the experience of reading is mesmerizing in my Kindle HD Book Reader. The feverish figure of Raskolnikov, the main protagonist, sometimes emulating Hamlet’s ‘to-be-or-not-to-be’, occasionally appears on screen. Visual Imagery is hallmark of this ‘digital book’. Want to verify? Go, grab one.
Sometimes my book reader transcends me to the era of Soviet Union’s anti-radical ideology through its vivid colors and contours of imagination. Sometimes I hear words of Bards of Shakespearean Era, ably converting texts to speech format in the book reader. My book-reader now indicates that I have completed 98% of ‘Crime and Punishment’. Time to meet now Oliver Twist of Dickens, to highlight the ‘The Great London Waif Crisis’ which exposes the cruel treatment met out to children and especially orphans. History comes with its grandeur and opulence through my digital book. Society was never burning with issues like these before. In short, my book reader has proven that more I read, more I will be connected with humanity through words, pictures and voice.
I still remember the day when I bought my first Oxford dictionary book in my childhood. My father taught me how to look up the words. While reading English textbooks, I used to search for those English words, which stared and booed at me, gesticulating that I am a stranger to them. And that is how I learnt English. Probably, my kids will never pick up the thick Oxford dictionary of almost 1000 pages in their hands. Even encyclopedia is a passé now. All they need to pick is a book reader. They can read the book and alongwith it, in the same screen, alongside in a small pop-up, they can refer to the difficult words and their meaning. Strangers became friends through my Kindle!
Flipping through so many pages with just a touch of my finger seems ethereal and never boring. Digital format makes the look and feel of the book very sublime. Marking a passage with a pen or highlighter is replaced by a touch on the screen. Though I do not use the reading glass, I wonder the implications of the e-book for those elderly people who need bigger and better font. They can not only enlarge the fonts of the text but also change from the flat Times Roman to curvaceous and sexy Monotype Corsiva.Now I do not even have to worry whether the book will be in hard-bound with substantial mass attached to it or paperback edition, with tendency to get tainted by the spilling of coffee or paper turning amber. E-book is ‘abysmally’ light. It heightens my reading experience. Now I am not even annoyed by the power-cuts while enjoying my magnum opus. The lucent built-in light of my book elates and transports me to the world of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. I walk down the aisles with my e-book in my hand. Or, enlightenment on my palms!
(This article and prize was inspired by ‘Crime and Punishment’ novel and could not have been possible without the Kindle, gifted to me by my wife Swapna. Thanks dear.)