My most cherished childhood memory is of my dad telling me stories right before bedtime. He always ended up falling asleep even before I had. I would again wake him up and request him to finish. On my eighth birthday, I received my first storybook from my dad, The Seven O’clock Tales by Enid Blyton. Soon, her stories started transporting me to the lands of elves and imps and they became a pre-bedtime addiction for me.

Then came my preteens and the librarian in my school handed me the first Harry Potter book and, lo and behold, I was now a wizard. Being a creative and imaginative child that I was, storybooks always worked as an escape route from my mundane routine life.

As I stepped into my teens, I found myself in the middle of all sorts of troubles concerning the school life. The lies and deceits of my friends, the obligation to cope with the changes in myself, clique fights, new friends… nothing felt good at the start of my school life. Going to school was a real ordeal in the beginning. There was no one whom I could trust. I was always upset.

That is when I started going to the school library. Earlier we used to have a separate period for library and it was just once a week. Never before had it occurred to me that I could go to the library in every free period (and the lunch time). My mind convinced me that going to a quiet place would make me feel better. As I just sat there in complete silence, the librarian started suggesting me to either talk to her or grab some book and give it a read.  I never felt like reading there; all I loved about the library was the calmness and tranquility it radiated.

However, one fine day, instead of asking me to read, the librarian handed me a book. It was Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl.

How Anne Frank changed Alisha's life

I reluctantly started reading it. However, this was no fictional work; this time, no one transported me to a world of fantasies and fairies. This book brought me face to face with the harsh realities of life, for it was the story of a young teenager who was just like me. She had similar problems, and she was sometimes successful in dealing with them and sometimes she wasn’t. But what shocked me was the number of restrictions, the fear and the anxiety that always weighed on her mind. I finished that book and all I was left with was a feeling of regret on how ungrateful I had been all this time. I was only concerned with what I was going through, completely oblivious to the fact that I had a safe and sweet home, two amazing parents and the opportunity of being a lot more than a forlorn soul. From that day onward, I developed a new and fresh attitude toward life. I started being more grateful to everyone who loved me. I started smiling more and, guess what, I got a few smiles back as well. I found new friends again.

Agatha Christie, Norwegian Wood, Jim Corbett

I am now in college, and I still read a book every night before going to bed. My bookshelves are now stuffed with books authored by Franz Kafka, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jim Corbett, Satyajit Ray, O Henry, Ruskin Bond and so many more. Every single book that I finish reading gives me a new perspective on life and serves to reduce my worries and anxieties. I still make mistakes, I still have problems, but each book helps me take a small but significant step ahead on the path of maturity, besides helping me come up with my own ways of dealing with problems and solving them.

So, what are your thoughts about the influence of books on Alisha’s life? Do let us know in the comments blow.

If Alisha’s story has inspired you to share yours with us, we’re all ears.