It would be an understatement if I said that I like reading. My heart sinks every time I finish reading a book. It is like saying goodbye to a best friend with whom I have spent the best times of my life.
I was six when I picked up my first book, or rather my parents chose it for me for my sixth birthday. Now, any child of six would consider reading a book without colorful pictures, a torturous exercise. My mom and dad had, however, gifted me a customized Jungle Book, which was not just replete with pictures, but the entire story was about ME!
The story was about a boy named ‘Chandu’, which – not coincidentally – happens to be my nickname, who falls asleep under the shade of a tree and drifts into a dream in which he is raised by a pack of wolves and befriends a bear named Baloo and a panther named Bagheera. So, as you see, it was the story of Mowgli except that I was the Mowgli. As a kid, I saw myself as a brave boy who fought Sher Khan and escaped the perils of the jungle and ultimately managed to become the savior of the entire animal-clan. That book had left me awestruck and had infused me with a sense of adventure, something I feel to this day whenever I give it a read, besides implanting in me a love for reading.
And now, whenever I read fiction, I start imagining myself as being the protagonist and feel closely connected to whatever he/she goes through in his/her journey. These days, I’m working on solving the mystery of the Murder on the Orient Express with Dr. Constantine and M. Blouc by my side (IYKWIM).
Reading books has also provided me with an inspiring perspective on life. The seeds of the drive to become an entrepreneur later in life, were sown when I read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson during my 10th grade days. It was so motivating that I went on to read other biographies like Elon Musk: How the Billonaire CEO of Spacex and Tesla is Shaping Our Future by Ashlee Vance and Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark in order to fuel my drive. So, if I do become a successful entrepreneur ten years down the line, I can safely blame the books that I read.
I am often ridiculed by my friends for reading, in their own words, big fat books, perhaps because the value of reading is unknown to most and the bond that a true reader establishes with books, though indisputable, is inexplicable.
As Mark Twain perfectly put it:
Good books, good friends and a sleepy conscience: This is the ideal life.
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