My story isn’t one in which I fell in love with a book. My life wasn’t changed dramatically by reading a great author’s fine work. Books didn’t affect the biggest decision I made in my life. They just influenced every little one.

As a child, I didn’t read much, probably because it required lots of efforts. Watching something was much easier. Why would someone choose a collection of hundreds of picture-less pages over movies? I was a child, I didn’t know better. But it was when I stumbled upon R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps that I found out that more interesting stories existed in the world of books. I started reading more. And the more I read, the more they amazed me. Our school library allowed issuing one book for one week exactly. For me though, they made an exception – I was allowed a book a day.

I then started reading books of different types – from Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Sherlock Holmes, Haroun and the Sea of Stories and Tintin to The Alchemist, Before I Go to Sleep, Sannikov Land, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, Five Point Someone, among others. Reading books also helped me get good grades. All I had to do was read the textbooks as a storybook, and would I never forget a word.

Sahildeep with his family

As I grew up, my collection of stories expanded. And with each book, I learned something new. Whenever life threw something at me, I was ready, because I had already read about it by then. There is this saying:

“A wise man learns from his mistakes. And an intelligent man learns from others’ mistakes.”

Books helped me become intelligent. I avoided the mistakes that could be avoided, and amended the others, all because I knew a story with a similar plot. People often complimented that I was smart for my age. I thought so too, because I knew the value of books. And it’s not just childhood that books help you in. When I had to leave home for college, dad was scared, mom was worried and I was ready. When I had to make new friends, books came to the rescue. When I needed consolation, motivation, inspiration or even distraction, I relied on books.

Suggested Read: The Night of the Flight

Books never stop helping you, nor can you ever read enough of them. My friend Simran recently recommended me A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Fountainhead, and reading them was an utter joy. They taught me things, they gave me mistakes to learn from, they gave me company, and they changed me for the better, just like all the books I’ve read before them did. Because that’s what friends do, and books are the best of them.

Great going, Sahildeep! We hope you’ll keep reading and moving forward in life.

If you were touched by Sahildeep’s story and would like to know more, feel free to get in touch with him over his Facebook or LinkedIn profile.

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