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The metaphor of re-reading

These days I recall earlier times of my childhood, when I had few worries and plenty of free time. I remember summers when I was a teenager, lying on the floor of an air-conditioned room, reading books far too complicated for my age.

I re-read the same books years later, only to find out that my experiences have changed, that the text now conveys something completely different. This is hardly surprising. The books do not have an essence in themselves. They live and survive through the experiences of the reader, locked within the reader’s social context, awareness and framework of understanding.

Since then, I visit some books on a yearly basis, a pilgrimage of the secularly minded to the time that passes; a tribute to an earlier self, and a rite of passage to the future.

The ritualistic reading is reminiscent of the mother who draws lines on the kitchen wall to mark the ever increasing height of her child, documenting his transition into adulthood and her transition into whatever she is afraid. Every reading is another line on the kitchen wall, and every line is another step in a ladder that others have started before and others will continue after you go.

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