It was the month of May. I was traveling by train from Howrah, West Bengal to Shillong, Meghalaya for my summer vacation. The train journey usually took two days and three nights. As most Indians would agree, spending two days locked up in an Indian Railways’ sleeper coach is no mean feat. To add to your woes, you are almost always surrounded by different types of strangers.

In my case, however, I shared my compartment with some friendly people. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, we soon found ourselves talking about our life experiences. It felt really nice, and that made the long journey so much more bearable.

Then, in the middle of the conversation, one of them suddenly gave me this book and asked me to read it later. Time flew by with those folks, and the next thing I knew, we were already in Shillong. It is strange how quickly time passes when you are having a good time, isn’t it?

On my way back, I shared my compartment with a few locals from Shillong. Unfortunately, they were not the friendliest people I had ever met. That is when the thought of that book occurred to me. It was Noam Chomsky’s Middle East Illusions.

I will be honest – the book was a real drag in the beginning. However, it soon picked up pace and began to get interesting with every page. Even though it was about the Iraq-USA conflict, I found it refreshingly engrossing for a book of the genre. And before I knew it, I had fallen in love with books. Looking back, I have no qualms about admitting that that journey would not have been half as memorable had it not been for this lifelong habit that it left me with. So, for everyone reading this story, I hope you too have a pleasant and enjoyable journey!


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