Reading is a very good habit and the more you read, the better you gain knowledge about the subject. However, in today’s world, which is ruled by social media, most of us don’t even care to read books. With the advent of the internet and social media, we have already lost many habits like playing outdoors, reading books, taking part in sports-related or dance-related activities and so on.
Case in point, a 73-year-old woman, who is a librarian is promoting the art of reading books. She walks 4 to 5 kilometres every day in a bid to promote reading in Kerala. At an age where people take bed rest, this powerful lady is walking miles to promote reading.
One can find the avid reader regularly carrying a bag stuffed with books along with an umbrella. She has visited at least 220 houses in the past 14 years in Budhannoor village near Chengannur in Kerala. In order to recognise her good initiative and her love towards reading, Umadevi was honoured by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and former CM of Kerala, Oommen Chandy.
Speaking to Matters India, Umadevi added: “I reach the library by three in the evening to collect the books. Mostly children and women take books from me to read. In case of students, they inform me in advance which book they want. I collect it from the library and deliver to them.”
She said that the library, which is located in the village is stuffed with books on all subjects namely fiction, non-fiction, and detective novels along with mythological books mostly read by the elderly people.
She also ensured that the library members actually read the book that she brings to them. She also asks children to tell her what they learnt from the books when she goes back to collect them after a couple of weeks.
Majority of the people in her vicinity know Umadevi for over a decade and they now call her to let her know about which books they or their family members want to read. She also started doing rounds of the village, distributing books, and cultivating book-reading habits after she was invited to work in the library by its president, Viswambharan Panicker.
She told English Mathrubhumi, “Belonging to a Namboodiri community, I was not allowed to go out earlier. I got married when I was a BA student. The family I came into were strict followers of traditions and customs. I had earlier worked as a tuition teacher for more than 20 years. I used to go to tuition centres and teach students. But after my husband’s death 18 years ago, I struggled to make ends meet.”