Until ninth standard, I was not interested in reading books. However, April 19, 2013 marked the beginning of a beautiful phase of my life. That was the day when I visited a library for the first time in my life. I have nobody but my cousin to thank for that serendipitous day, as he was the one who had almost forced me to go there. Amid the pin-drop silence of the library, there was little I could do except unwillingly pick up a book to read. The first book I read was a sixth-century Tamil epic titled Manipallavam. Reading it kind of felt like resurrecting the people from those times. I read that book until the librarian had to ask me to leave due to the library’s closing hours. Today, if I am to single out a point along the continuum where I became a reader from a non-reader, that would be it. Or perhaps it was just the beginning of what was to come.

From that day onward, I read one Tamil story after another. By my sixteenth birthday, my increased interest in reading had eerily coincided with my growing fondness for English movies. It was perhaps because I had come to know that the those thrilling Harry Potter movies were actually based on the English novels authored by J.K. Rowling – and Harry Potter soon became the first English book I had ever read. This further accelerated my hunger for reading. I guess I was rather intrigued by the art of writing.

Bala engrossed in reading a book

“Do these authors come from the heaven or what?”, I would often wonder. Luckily, there was nothing of the sort – not that I am some devil who has descended from hell! By that point, I had started writing short stories for various local magazines. In December 2017, I was one of the two story writers representing our school in a regional writing competition. My teachers were fairly confident that I would emerge as the winner. My friends had already started pestering me with their extravagant party expectations. I would be utterly lying if I said that I wasn’t feeling sure about my imminent victory as, in stark contrast with all my writing skills and know-how, my competitor had no experience whatsoever in the field of writing. However, the final outcome was a real bummer to say the least. He had ended up winning the first prize!

Disappointed and dejected, I came across this quote while reading his story – and, for some strange reason, it felt like it was meant for me:

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

Bala working on one of his blog articles

These were the words that roused me from my slumber; they had brought me face to face with the reality. I read multiple blogs to enhance my writing skills. Today, as a blogger, I feel that my reading habits have had a positive influence on my attitude, thoughts and perspective on life. The world would be such a better place if we could all motivate at least one non-reader to give books a chance in their life, wouldn’t it?

A NOTE TO OUR INDIAN READERS

For all those passionate Indian readers who have their reading habits to thank for the positive changes in their life, here’s their chance to get published on Ameya! To get started, click on the button below, or simply send us an email at support@booksameya.in. Yes, it’s that easy!

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