As a kid, I loved reading children’s stories and fables, and that was largely due to those exquisitely illustrated books. My mother would get me all these storybooks – from the stories of Akbar and Birbal to the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to Aesop’s Fables and whatnot. However, I could not stand the books that had no pictures and rather came with an enormously small font. Bulky books scared the bejesus out of me. The only link I had with books – such voluminous books, I mean – was through school. Other than that, I avoided books to the best of my ability. In fact, I had no idea why someone would spend hours reading a book when they could just watch a movie instead!

Like most people her age, Aditi Sharma was more interested in movies than books

It was finally in 2010 when I had this paradigm shift in my outlook on books. You see, my dad had recently got a Kindle for his work. And honestly, the only reason I cared to check that thing out is because I thought it was a tablet! Well, God bless my stupidity, for that one moment of ignorance turned my life on its head.

Actually, I was always a sucker for mystery and detective stories. While casually surfing through the suggested titles on dad’s Kindle, I stumbled upon this book titled And Then There Were None. The title itself was enough to prompt me to read the summary. And before I knew it, I had finished the entire book! A rush of realization hit me and suddenly, all the absurdity of bibliophiles started to make sense. Even novels made sense! Little did I know that this was the start of my love for the genius of Dame Agatha Christie. I went so far as to spend my entire pocket money on buying her books and make short work of them.

Books eventually made a world of difference in Aditi Sharma's outlook on life

Ten years down the line, I can proudly claim to have found my eternal companion in books. I have become a proud proponent of all those cheesy quotes about books being your real friends. They have even been my mentor at times – most notably a couple of years ago, when I had hit rock bottom and was grappling with depression. In fact, it would be no exaggeration to say that books actually saved my life back then! They transported me to a whole new universe, where I became completely oblivious to my own problems and rather focused on the protagonist’s. I made it through those agonizing days all because of some marvelous trips through those fictional realms.

I still tend to look back to the day when I picked up my first novel and wonder what if things had gone differently. This thought sends chills down my spine, for books were the ones to teach me the importance of being at peace with myself.


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