I used to hate books. I even hated the smell of new books, which, surprisingly for me back then, was loved by almost everyone – even those who liked to classify themselves as non-readers. However, an incident turned my detestation for reading into a fondness for books, nay textbooks to be precise. Yeah, you read that right.

I was an average student who would often get below-average grades. My mother served as the manager of a bank and my dad was a lawyer. Their hectic schedules meant that they were not able to assist me with my studies, which naturally implied that I spent a major chunk of my non-school hours at tuition centers. My zero-compatibility with books was the primary reason why I so detested going to those scary classes. I had started bunking classes as early as in my twelfth standard!

I wasn’t alone, though. I had a huge gang of friends, and a boyfriend. I liked hanging out with them. By then, I had begun lying to my parents about money, extra classes, group study and whatnot. One fine day, I had lied to them about a supposed morning class (at 6 in the morning!), only to be caught red-handed… with my friends. That is when my life underwent a 360° change. Coming from a small-town family, my behavior was seen as highly disgraceful, which resulted in me being temporarily put on house arrest as a punishment for my misdemeanor.

It was during that locked-up phase that I opened my NCERT biology textbook. It would be unfair of me to say that I was giving it a sincere read, for I wasn’t. I was rather pretending to read it. When that masquerade became interesting for me is still a mystery. I read one chapter after another. I had started to feel an enigmatic connection with my books. By the time I had finished reading my textbooks, my approach, which was hitherto centered on cramming, cramming and more cramming, had started revolving around understanding things. As an obvious result of that, the average student who had mentally prepared herself to flunk her board exams, ended up scoring a whopping 85%!

It was always going to be a steep and enjoyable fall into the world of books after that. Every book gave me something worth cherishing. I can now sit for hours in a library and, as embarrassing as it might be for me to confess this, I now find the fragrance of books quite enchanting – and I’m not just talking about the new ones!

I am now pursuing my master’s in genetics. However, I am not just restricted to reading medical books. I would like to sum up my story by adding that my connection with books, which was unexpectedly forged in the weirdest of circumstances, somehow ended up enriching my life. I might sound too philosophical here, but I feel that books are a man’s only permanent company in this transient journey called life. How can one not love them?

Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us, Divya! We are glad books could becoming the guiding light in your life.

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