I can’t get enough of bookmarks. It does not mean that I have a collection of unique bookmarks. No. It is that I never let an opportunity pass by to pick up one. And bookmarks are not just neat, long pieces specifically designed to rest between a read and an unread page, they could be anything – an old receipt from dry cleaner’s, a used up grocery list, an outdated boarding pass or a baggage tag with priority written over it. Once inserted, they stay as a reminder where the words paused hoping to resume.
Books are my lifelines. And bookmarks are my peaceful respite. The spaces in between my thinking. Some use highlighters to mark the text they love, hate or wish to ponder upon. I use a bookmark instead. I believe in reading the entire context once again that made me ruminate. And sometimes it is the bookmark that carries the weight of its memories. A list of items that were bought on a certain day of a certain year with the name of a server or an attendant, marking my presence in the co-ordinate of time and space with a complete stranger, helping me get things, I wanted, needed. Or it could be a ticket stub of a movie that I disliked and sat through with great difficulty. Or a flight where I met someone interesting, got their visiting card and promised to write but never bothered to even send a hello. My bookmarks have a story of their own and till date, I don’t remember discarding any of them – only moving them around or to the end of the book because I am done with the book but not with the bookmark. Not yet.
The other day, when I was checking out books from the library, the librarian courteously asked – “Would you like a bookmark”?
“Yes,” I said, almost impatiently and picked up another sleek, rectangle.