Can You Read This?

“Literacy is the most basic currency of the knowledge economy.”

~Barack Obama

Today is International Literacy Day. It is a joy to read, and even more so to connect with fellow bibliophiles. The picture below is a collage made by marathoner, author and founder of our book club here, Lt. Cdr. Bijay Nair (Retd.). What started off as a bunch of runners who came together to share their common love for reading and discussing books, snowballed into a full-fledged book club which attracted even non-runners/athletes who attended and loved the book meets. We don’t discuss just running or exercise related books, though running was what brought us together. Founder Nair prepared this collage of some of our many meet-ups, as a reminder of the value books play in our lives. In a twist to Joseph Addison’s words, Nair quotes – “Reading is to the mind what running is to the body”. And we have been blessed to find like-minded souls from the runner-reader tribe. “A child without education is like a bird without wings” , goes a Tibetan proverb. Education is a gift no one can take from you – perfectly highlighted on a day that pays tribute to the importance of literacy. Pick up a book today, and be grateful that you can read it.

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Image copyrighted by DYRT
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9 thoughts on “Can You Read This?”

  1. Indeed. What a gift it is to read and be transported to another place, or into another mind or soul. I can’t imagine life without reading. And luckily, neither can my grandson at three years old. He caught the bug early!

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    1. I sometimes feel bad while reading translated books; that there are so many languages I don’t know and can’t read their scripts. There’s a kind of magic in being able to identify alphabets, interpret words, and string sentences. I can completely relate to that – not being able to imagine life without reading. Your grandson caught the right bug! 🙂

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      1. And it’s interesting reading works in translation, isn’t it, particularly when you know something of the language? Good translators are quite special. Deborah Smith, who translates Han Kang’s work is brilliant. (Er, no. I don’t speak Korean)

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      2. I admire translators and the work they do. We would have missed out on so much literature if we didn’t have access to translated books. I have read only one book of Han Kang – The Vegetarian. Though I like William Weaver’s translations of Italo Calvino’s books.

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  2. I didn’t realize that today is International literacy day. That is so cool. You can see how much the world has changed. Once only very rich people and people lucky enough to have a rich sponsor to pay a tutor to teach them to read could read except for some religious groups that taught their own members and very rarely a few children. Nowadays many countries give free schooling between ages 5-12 so that people can learn to read,write and do arithmetic. Governments are realizing it’s important to invest in their citizens being educated.Yes, some children still have to go to work or have to babysit their siblings so their parents can go to work. Yes, many places you can get a better education if you have money to pay for it. Still the proportion of people who can read is growing worldwide. Once upon a time, it was rare for a person to be able to read. Now it’s mostly the norm. I think that’s awesome.

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    1. That’s so true. We have NGOs here that work with children who manage household chores since their parents are working. These kids don’t go to conventional schools. But many working people are called upon to spend a few hours a week with them. One doesn’t need to be a professional teacher to teach them the basics of how to read or calculate. It makes a huge difference in their lives.

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      1. So everyone in the community becomes a teacher, that’s pretty cool. Yeah, I agree with you reading and writing is huge — once you get past a certain point, if you can get access to books, you can learn anything. Math too but I tend to seperate arithmatic, algebra and geometry but all three together are very powerful from handling money to building whatever

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