Kindling curiosity

Tablet computers, along with their shorter cousins phablets, are now pretty common. Almost everyone has a touch screen operated device and those who don't are on their way to owning one. Therefore, no one will gasp in surprise if you swipe away to glory on public transport.

But the curious thing I have never gotten used to is how much attention a plain old Kindle draws. One would think that given how the Kindle is a dull-looking, black & white piece of plastic with essentially no "display" to speak of, it wouldn't draw attention. But one would be wrong. My Kindle amazes people. Absolute strangers come up and ask about it. What it is, how it works, how do I operate it, they want to know everything. They sort of lose interest when I tell them about the thousands of books it can carry and how reading is all I can do with it.

I think this happens because people are curious and because they think a device that looks like a portable computer should behave like a portable computer. Also, most people are not readers. So the existence of a tablet-like device that offers a distraction-free reading environment vexes them.

To me, the Kindle lifesaver. When I left Mumbai six years ago, I had to pack and move more than 80 kilogrammes of books. My time in Delhi has only added to that mass. Without ebooks, I would have had to sell off my furniture to keep my books.