While books are an integral part of my life today, back when I was a kid, books (read Champak) meant nothing more and nothing less than jokes and puzzles, and that’s exactly how, or rather why I started reading. While I’m still not what people would call a bookworm, my bookshelf is full of interesting books. Besides jokes and puzzles, I also owe my reading habit to my grandmother, who, as a librarian in my school, always encouraged me to read as much as possible.

As I grew up, I transitioned from Champak to Reader’s Digest. While my reading of that monthly was completely inspired by my desire to familiarize myself with what’s going on around the world, my grandmother handing me over the books on Swami Vikenanda and his life was what really brought about a complete change in me. Some of his books that had the greatest impact on me were Inspired Talks, Lectures from Colombo to Almora, Swami Vivekananda on Himself and The Vedanta Philosophy.

How Kanishka Mishra from Uttar Pradesh started reading

Reading all these books suddenly awakened in me a newfound interest in autobiographies. While earlier my grandmother would actually force me to read, I now used to ask her to buy me books. The first book I read was Mahatma Gandhi‘s My Experiments With Truth. I followed it up by reading Barack Obama‘s Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope. These books developed my leadership skills, besides inspiring me to give something back to the community.

I then read The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine. This book played a huge rule in shaping my philosophy. The next book I read – The Bhagvad Gita – needs no introduction. It continues being my one and only source of energy and positivity.

I would like to sum up by saying that reading has also enhanced my writing skills. Everyone has a story to tell, and the types of books we read determine the kinds of stories we tell.

A short but intriguing story, especially the grandmother part! What’s your take on Kanishka’s story? Do  let us know in the comments below. If you’d like to share your story with us, we’re all ears.