Stories had always intrigued me. Every year, before the start of a new academic session, my father would get me a stack of books. Being the curious child that I was, I would skim through all of them, not because I was interested in what didactic information I would be consuming over the remainder of the year, but because I found those unexplored words and pictures gripping. I’m still not sure why. However, it were the supplementary textbooks that I kept for the end, finishing them before anything else.

Well, I am an introvert. Did books make me one or was I always someone who preferred a good book and solitude to the company of others? I don’t know. Books and I, well, we go a long way. I really cannot pinpoint a reason why I love reading. One might be tempted to think it had something to do with them helping me escape reality. But I have been into books since my formative years, and I had a decent childhood by all accounts. I have been a dreamer ever since I was a kid. I guess all kids are dreamers. However, in my case, books gave wings to those dreams from a very young age.

My dad’s collection of religious and spiritual books served to feed the imagination of that fledgling dreamer in me. The children’s monthly, Chandamama, only reinforced it. In fact, I kept reading it well into my adulthood, until they stopped publishing it altogether. That said, if I am to pick one author from my childhood, then it would have to be my hero and role model, Ruskin Bond. I have devoured practically everything he has ever written for kids.

Love, however, doesn’t happen at first sight. There were some genres I didn’t like at all. However, this is not to say that my dislikes were set in stone. Poetry, which I had always found dull and unexciting in childhood, began to feel deep and meaningful as teenage beckoned. From Rumi to Rupi Kaur, poems added depth to my understanding of love and my own self. Even so, no author has left a bigger, more indelible impression on my psyche than the one and only Sylvia Plath.

Ishan Kalia story

Another genre I absolutely detested as a kid was history. Surprisingly, though, later in life, I developed a liking for it. In fact, it became my favorite subjects, and today, I have no qualms about admitting that I have probably read more history books than books from any other genre! Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind left me thinking for weeks. It still happens to be the most astounding book I have read to date.

Back in school days, my inability to make sense of Shakespearean language and style had strengthened a misconception that all classical literature was irrelevant. It felt foreign to me. That was the way I felt about all old literature. Besides, considering how active I was on Wattpad, I never really got the chance to consume much of the classics. However, all those misapprehensions came tumbling down like a house of cards once I chanced upon George Orwell’s 1984. It has to be one of the most riveting books ever published.

To sum up, to me, books feel like an inseparable soulmate; they always have. Time has only served to fuel my love for books. Whenever I grow weary of the world or whenever my spirits are down, I always go back to the comfort of a good book. And that is where I find my peace, solace, and home.

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