There are two ways you can explore the world: either by traveling or by reading a lot of books.

These were not the words of some famous person, but rather my best friend. He had said this when I asked him how I could learn to write.

You see, I was not really fond of reading, especially when it came to those 300-page, picture-less novels. During our school days, we had the luxury of borrowing any book of our choice from the school library for a day or two. I would always go for one encyclopedia or the other – more so because they had pictures than out of some newfound desire to learn new facts. I would occasionally go for a Harry Potter or Hardy Boys book, both of which were relatively new at the time. However, instead of reading those books, I would wonder how many textbooks could fit into them. Looking back, I wish I knew better.

By the time I was in college, I had become somewhat of a movie buff. In fact, that is how I eventually came over the word ‘screenplay‘, which serves as the blueprint for every movie. While I was familiar with the rules, I had no idea how to actually create a story. And that is when I approached my best friend, who happened to be an avid reader. The rest, as they say, is history.

There was no looking back for Amitabh Kumar once he actually began to read

The first book I would pick up – with the intent of actually reading it, I mean – was Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. My selection process was rather simple – the book seemed small; in fact, it was not even 100 pages! I was like yes, I can get through this. However, twenty pages into the book, I was already beginning to get curious about what was going to happen over the next seventy pages or so. And, by the time I was done reading, my perception of books had undergone a paradigm shift.

It was not just my vocabulary, but also the way I looked at life and the challenges and opportunities it often throws our way. That was what I had been looking for forever.

Even more interesting was the fact that books did not scare me anymore. I now know for a fact that I will have a new story in my head when I am done reading a book. And while I may not have liked every book I have gone on to read since then, I have gained something from all of them.


Amitabh Kumar is also available on LinkedIn. Feel free to check out his profile here to know more about him.

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