I hardly cherished the idea of reading before May 2020. In fact, the only reason I read my medical entrance exam books was to make sure I got into a government medical college. I couldn’t care less if I learned anything or not; I just wanted to get through anyhow. Besides, I come from an agricultural family in Haryana, so my English wasn’t really great to begin with.

This was the time when COVID had begun to wreak havoc in India. Even my entrance exam was put off multiple times. Honestly, I was sick of reading the same stuff over and over again, not that I had become perfect in those concepts.

Given how my sister kept a watchful eye on me all day, I had no choice but to pretend to study. However, I soon figured out that I didn’t actually have to read those books. I borrowed a novel from my friend. Hidden in that heavy biology textbook, I began reading it.

It was Novoneel Chakraborty’s Roses Are Blood Red – the first non-academic book I ever read. Despite being in English, I somehow managed to get my head around about three-fourths of the book! Yeah, I did take Google Translate’s help for the rest, but that doesn’t matter, does it?

The thing is, the book wasn’t as mind-boggling (or boring) as my biology textbooks. The language was fairly simple and the content itself interesting. Curiously, the more I read, the more confident I grew. Before I knew it, I was actively looking for quiet places in the house where I could read without being disturbed.

I then went on to read some of Chakraborty’s other thrillers before trying Chetan Bhagat, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ashwin Sanghi and Amish Tripathi. I also enjoyed reading Tagore.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t clear the medical entrance exam that year. As sad as I was, my reading habits really came in handy at the time. My improved English meant that I could read more complex novels. In fact, I could now even understand my academic concepts better! The result? The same year, I cracked the Indian Council of Agricultural Research exam, which was actually my field of interest. Getting into Asia’s biggest agricultural university, the Haryana Agricultural University, was no mean feat!

Dhirender story on Books Ameya

Today, when I am well on my way to becoming an agricultural scientist, I can proudly say that it was my reading habits that got me so far in life. You can gauge how far I have come by the fact that a person who couldn’t even properly read, let alone understand English, can write decent articles and poems today. And all that I owe to the books I have read.


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