As kids, we all listen to countless stories. However, all of that comes to an abrupt end as we start growing up.

In my case, I found it difficult to leave those stories behind even as teenage life beckoned. My insatiable appetite for stories motivated me to read wherever I found one. That said, such opportunities were few and far between. In fact, all I used to get was the one-page story that the publishers would feature in the monthly local magazine. Comics and short mystery reads offered the much-needed solace. At school, it were the supplementary chapters that kept me interested. Slowly but steadily, reading became a new habit in my life.

Even so, it was not until my eighth-grade vacation that my reading habits took a concrete shape. That was the time I read two books that brought about a paradigm shift in the way I perceived everything around me. These were The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, by Sean Covey. Having read these books without my cousin’s knowledge, guilt forced me to return them to him over the next vacation. Even so, books kept finding a way into my life as birthday presents. The more I read, the more I realized how madly in love I was with novels.

As a teenager, I explored the books I had at my disposal, acquainting myself with different genres. This helped me develop a particular interest in fiction, especially crime thrillers.

Now, as a school girl, all I did was borrow books from cousins and friends. I would get the odd book issued from the school library as well. All of this had predisposed and programmed to handle books in a more sensitive way than, say, the average reader, treating them as though they were made of glass.

College life gave Jeyalakshmi the chance to fulfill her childhood dream of reading

College life brought with it more pocket money and freedom. I would get quite excited whenever I stumbled upon a book fair, a book store with irresistible discounts and whatnot. I would use a fair chunk of my savings to treat myself to books. As college life was about to end, I developed a subtle fascination for non-fiction reads, which had begun to make more sense to me. From the biographies of globally renowned personalities to the random autobiography, each book taught me something new. That was a phase in my life when books took over, as other things (read sleep) took a back seat.

I would like to sum up by saying that books are more human than we are. I can hold them in my hands and confide in them whenever I want. The best thing about them is that they will not let go of me unless I do.


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