They are one of my early childhood memories, my sincere friends who were always ready to help me, cheering me up when I was sad, giving me company when I was lonely and always eager to share their wisdom with me. I too loved my companions dearly and felt refreshed whenever I had a meeting with them! They were always there for me, never complaining if on some days I ignored them and spent more time with my family, toys, or the television.
We remained together till my teen age years, when I was a school and college student and however busy I was with my studies, I somehow managed to sneak out some time for them. Sometimes this meant less sleeping hours, but my companions were so dear to me that I didn’t mind compromising my sleep for their sake.
Life moved on! I stepped into a married life, had a home to run, children to look after and time became a precious commodity for me. Although I missed my childhood companions badly, gradually I lost contact with them. On some nights, as I lay in bed, tired to the bones and half asleep, their memories came drifting to my mind and feeling a rush of guilt for abandoning my faithful friends, I promised myself that someday I would make up for this lost time. But try as I would, I just couldn’t manage to carve out those extra hours for myself, time I needed to re-bond with my childhood pals.
Time flies! Before I knew it the children had grown up and were no more dependant on me for all their requirements. They had their own activities and hobbies to pursue, their friends and studies to spend their time with. I had to realize that they needed space, time for themselves of which I could no more be an integral part. The years of hectic activities were finally over! Days grew longer and I had to find out means and ways to keep myself busy. Although at times I felt lonely and left out but had to put up with this new stage of life. The wisdom my childhood friends had given me helped me a lot to cope with this change, to make compromises without a word of complaint.
One day, just to kill time, I decided to clear up a cupboard which I had not opened for years. And I stumbled upon my old friends whom I had nearly forgotten in the hectic years gone by! Ah! My books, my best friends forever! It was a moment of mixed feelings. I felt a surge of delight although I could feel the tears pricking my eyes. I picked up my old friends lovingly and carefully wiped and dusted them, one by one. over the years, they had aged just like me! My hair had grown grey, their pages yellow and the lines under my eyes matched their worn-out look. But they were as eager as ever to give me company, to wipe out my loneliness and to impart me the wisdom and courage to move on with my life! And then did I realize their true value! Books are my blessed companion which on just a touch, pour out their hearts into my own and the love of books lasts through out a lifetime and is a joy forever! Since that fateful day, I have never had a moment of loneliness!