World Book Day is Celebrated on 23 April worldwide. Social Media is flooded with posts and pictures of ‘Happy World Book Day’. However, I wonder if at all the generation today takes interest in reading books. Libraries these days are seen as empty. Books stores have no footfall. Book Fests attract food more than books. Food stalls are more crowded than book stalls at the Literary Festivals. Authors have given up on their hopes for royalties as books are not sold even on online platforms. Children are seen with mobile phones in their hands than books. How far are BOOKs from the young generation today?
It is indeed a very sad picture today that the young generation is embracing Reel life and becoming deaf and dumb about real life. Children right from the age of 2 and 3 are seen on Instagram and Facebook making dramatic reels which gradually become their interest and habit as they grow. Parents today are introducing reel life by handing mobile phones and gadgets to children to create videos rather than filling their hands with books. Rarely do we see any child or student posting a book review on social media, rather social media is full of dramatic reels having no connection to gaining knowledge or skills. Today, authors have to spend huge in buying reviews as there are no genuine readers and the market is full of agents selling book reviews. How far have we pushed books away from the young generation today?
Book Shelves have become an object of décor today flaunting the fancy drawing rooms and sitting rooms. Having visited a family recently, I was overjoyed to see a huge and beautiful library corner. I picked up a book and asked the daughter about the book who was in the ninth grade. She was clueless and answered, “Who reads such thick books?” My mind was netted with questions: ‘Why the library and why thick books on the shelves?’ However, I preferred to choose silence.
Thousands of Social Media posts wishing World Book Day by thousands of people comprising the young and the old compel me to question, if only 23 April reminds us of books. When authors request their family, friends, and near and dear ones, their requests are responded to with silence. However, on 23 April, we see everyone active on social media posting garnished pictures of World Book Day. The pictures flaunting their embellished libraries, desks with books, and photoshoots holding books in their hands raise questions if the books flaunted have been devoured by the possessors of the posts.
I wish if every parent could have filled their children’s hands with books. I wish, on holidays, the children are taught to visit a library. I wish that children are taught to speak a few words about a book read by them and make a reel on the review. I wish if we all could spread awareness of the importance of reading books and welcoming Real Life than The Reels. World Book Day could have been celebrated for Real in a grand way by the entire world.
Happy World Book Day!
(Mousumi Kalita Sachdeva is the CEO of Griffin Publication and Sahitya Academy award winning Author)