Why I Fell In Love With A Kindle

Nirbhay Kanoria

May 18, 2018

Recently, when I least expected it, I got quite the fright. It was compounded by the fact that I had never thought anything to do with this little black object could, in any way, alarm me. You see, my Kindle had less than a quarter of the battery left, and I had lost the charger, a few hours before a nine and a half hour flight.

Luckily, I am still old school and have a stack of physical books in my anti-library. I chose Half Of A Yellow Sun and The Twelve Caesars, and promptly put one in my hand luggage and one in my suitcase. Nonetheless, my dreams of switching between multiple books- taking a break from the heavy-duty Narcopolis by reading a chapter of A Chamber of Secrets, of entertaining my daughter by reading her favourite Fox In Socks and of picking up a few business tips while perusing Zero To One– all while 35,000 feet in the sky, were shattered. My romantic-self had imagined a picnic mat stretched out on the green grass of Hyde Park, my kid running around the ducks, while I reached into my pocket and pulled out my handy little black device and settled down to read An Era Of Darkness: The British Empire In India (yes, I get the irony).

It was only recently that I bought a Kindle, after years of being a “I hate e-books” person. Work and convenience made me swallow my much-uttered words “I will never own a Kindle”. But now, I find it hard to live without one. On the very first day of owning it, I realised that it was a blessing for one of my many insomnia-affected nights. I have developed a bizarre habit of waking up around 2 a.m. and not being able to go back to sleep till mindless TV numbs my mind. Naturally, a man bustling around his laptop, fumbling while inserting a headphone or a charger, the clicking and clacking of a keyboard trying to find a random Netflix show, not to mention the godawful light a computer emanates, can be quite disturbing for a spouse. Here, a Kindle is simply wonderful. A simple push of the button turns it on, I actually spend quality time reading (which in my opinion is far more productive than watching TV), and I also go back to sleep sooner than I would when watching TV.

Studies have shown that since laptops and smartphones are backlit, the ‘blue light’ they emit reduces the production of melatonin. Using them before sleeping may cause insomnia, harm your sleep quality, and even increase the risk of certain cancers! Now my Kindle Paperwhite, on the other hand, is front lit and does not emit the blue light, so according to experts, it is safe to assume it does not pose the same threats as smartphones, tablets, etc.  Of course, it would be ideal if I could read a paper book, but I’m guessing switching on a light of any kind would lead to a rather irate spouse.

Now don’t get fooled into thinking marital bliss is my only attraction to the Kindle. Being the editor of The Curious Reader, I now need to read multiple books and make notes while reading them. A nifty feature on my little black box of wonder (as I call it) is the ability to highlight and make notes on relevant passages. It has been a tremendous boon at work because if your workspace is as cluttered as mine, I can guarantee you that finding that random post-it on which you’ve scribbled a quote or reference is impossible.

Furthermore, I’ve decided to add to my already excessive workload by deciding to learn Spanish. I’ve downloaded Spanish Short Stories For Beginners which, as the name suggests, is a collection of easy-to-read short stories in Spanish for those wanting to learn the language. If I don’t know a word, I can simply highlight it and the translation service will give me the English version of it. Now, I feel quite proud when my Spanish teacher tells me I am picking up the language way faster than other people but little does he know my secret.

I have another confession to make. While otherwise minimalistic and, to be honest, not the biggest spender when it comes to my lifestyle choices, I tend to go a little mad when it comes to books. I now have three very well-organised libraries with over 2000 books. Just imagine how much space my three libraries take up. Now imagine all those books in one handy device, and all that space free to do what I want with it- maybe get that that leather armchair I’ve been dreaming about on which I can sit and enjoy my book and a single malt. Don’t get me wrong, not for a second am I saying you should forgo your physical library! For me, the thought of not having at least one is sacrilegious, but three may be a bit much.

It is funny how sometimes words come back to bite you in the you-know-where. I was, unfairly, the biggest critic of the Kindle, and refused to even touch one. And look at me now, gushing and babbling like a baby. I have fallen in love, this time, not with a human but a device. Oh, and, in case you are wondering, not only did the battery survive the flight, but after landing in London, I simply ordered the charging wire, and a picnic mat, both of which arrived in two days. I juiced up my Kindle and headed over to Hyde Park the very same evening, with my kid in tow, and the Kindle and duck food secure in my backpack.

As a young boy, Nirbhay had the annoying habit of waking up at 5 a.m. Since television was a big no-no, he had no choice but to read to entertain himself and that is how his love affair with books began. A true-blue Piscean, books paved the path to his fantasy worlds- worlds he’d often rather stay in. Nirbhay is the co-founder and publisher of The Curious Reader.

You can read his articles, here.