Since the fateful day when Johannes Gutenberg pressed the first book, the fate of the whole world changed for the better. Now, fast forward a few centuries and you’ve got a quintessential middle-school girl being forced to read a book in a hobby class tailor-made to make some troublesome and hormonal kids read for fun. And that’s how I came across Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Every person in this world has or will have their life changed by a book that is waiting for them, or maybe one that has already found them. Robinson Crusoe was not the book that changed my life.

Bhubaneswar girl finds solace in books

I guess the book-bug had not bitten me that hard. I liked to read books during those hobby classes that came once a week, but the school gossip always seemed (I cringe while I say this) more attention-worthy. This unremarkable state of affairs went on for a year or two. But then, one day, I stumbled upon The Adventures of Dennis by Victor Dragunsky, lying deep inside a showcase cabinet in my home. The cover of this hard-bound dusty yellow book depicted a little boy riding an elephant with balloons tied to its trunk. It was a hot summer afternoon and I was bored out of my mind in the middle of the summer vacations. So I started flipping through the pages and finally found myself reading it. It was a collection of short stories written by a Soviet author about the adventures of an eight-year-old boy growing up in Moscow. It was basically a children’s book but so much more than that. The initial stories that delineated the initial days of childhood were the wild and hilariously ridiculous fantasies and nightmares of the protagonist that we all have when we are innocent playful children. But as the pages start turning and Dennis starts growing, there come stories of real lives, how his father struggled with starvation in his childhood, how Dennis handles the arrival of a little sister and basically how we grow up without ever realizing that we did. In the last story, Dennis is smitten by a girl on a ball from the circus but is unable to find her again. The last scene is his father tugging him away from the circus tent unable to explain to his young son about lost dreams while Dennis doesn’t understand why his father is squeezing his hand so hard.

This was the first book that intensified my desire to delve deeper into the mysterious world of books, thus opening the gates of the book-heaven for me. There were so many wonderful books along the way. I came across the amazing books authored by Roald Dahl, who still happens to be my favorite author; the Harry Potter series, which all but stamped my transformation into an official book nerd, the tantalizing page-turners by Agatha Christie, the nail-biting novels by Jeffrey Archer, the courtroom dramas of John Grisham, the soul-searching YA books by John Green and so many more that are so close to my heart; that have each found a home in me and have made a home for me in their words.

Ria and her love affair with reading
Ria with a drop from her ocean of books

However, the book that changed my life was The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky. Now, if I were to start reviewing this book, this supposedly short story of mine would end up looking like a novel, and I still won’t be done.

So, I’ll just leave for you my favorite quote from this book:

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

It was the combination of words and phrases like these that blew my mind and sent me to an alternate reality, where I could feel such inexplicable emotions and feelings that I could have never described in our reality.

Books had that power over me. With the troubling teenage years torturing me from all around, books were the haven that gave me my peace of mind. The stories you read are so much more intimate than the stories you see; you get to know each thought that passes through the head of a character, every tell-tale sign on their visage. The images that the books create in the very depths of our minds could never be mirrored by a scene in a movie that is projected on our retinas. Books make you feel things. They both show and tell you stories at the same time. To every non-reader out there who thinks books are not for them, you just need to find that one book that will change your life. After that, it’s a slippery slope, my friend.

Lastly, there was a time when I used to think about getting a Libra tattoo as that was all that came to my mind when somebody would ask me to describe myself. But now as a proud bibliophile I have chosen to call myself a libraria, the sign ruled by the planet of books, a planet where words are water and stories are air.

That was a pretty long but interesting story by Ria. Were you able to relate to her love affair with books? Do let us know in the comments below.

If you’d like to know more about her, you can get in touch with her over her Instagram handle. Just in case Ria’s breathtaking journey in the world of books inspired you to share yours, we’d love to hear.

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