The dumb kid. This was the title my family members honored me with in my childhood. You see, I was not the most talkative kid around. Besides, I always tended to reply late.

My silence would often break with the morning newspaper, when I would ask my parents the meaning of complex words. For a child like me, it was this habit of reading newspapers that would later open the doors to a promising world. Time only served to fuel my love for newspapers. I eventually did start reading books, though.

Chacha Chaudhary comics were where my affair began with books, which I got from my uncle’s collection. I never knew illustrations could actually be so powerful. Thereafter, I came across magazines like Chotu Motu, Champak, Balhans, etc. As a ‘dumb’ kid, I figured out that books were my only best friends. I started spending more and more time with books. The result? Well, the people around me started thinking of me as a bright student, which I obviously was not.

Rabindranath Tagore’s story collection gave a new turn to this journey. His style was so effective that the stories would remain imprinted on my mind for weeks. In fact, some of the images are still indelibly engraved on my psyche.

Story of Kaustubh Gautam on Ameya

I used to read the novels and story books brought by my older sister. Being born in a Rajasthani, literature-loving family, I got the chance to read Rajasthani literature as well. Some Rajasthani poems are still vivid in my memory. If school life had introduced me to Rajasthani and Hindi literature, college life presented me to English literature. It was at this time that I read Gitanjali for the first time. It was really difficult to understand at first, but the voracious reader in me did not give up.

My friends’ persistent nagging meant that I also read Wings of Fire. During this time, I started reading blogs and online articles, which helped me gain a more global outlook and give wings to my curiosity. I also started penning down stuff to give vent to my hitherto unvoiced feelings. It was in grade twelve when I first published an article in a newspaper. This momentarily stimulated the writer in me.

That said, I definitely feel that I am a much better reader than writer. Books have, after all, helped me through some of the toughest times in life.

Kaustubh Gautam's story on Books Ameya

All in all, the journey that began with newspapers has now evolved into something more refined, and it will continue to be so for as long as I am alive. My quest to find and make new friends in books will never stop. And to everyone reading this, I would suggest you to do the same.


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