I was ten when I first began reading non-curriculum books. The fancy covers of books had always attracted and intrigued the child in me. That unique aroma of paper would also lure me like one would expect an oasis to draw a thirsty man. I remember asking my dad to buy me all the books in a shop. Haven’t we, the book lovers, wished at least once in our lives that we had all the books there are in the world?
Well, I was heartbroken when my dad politely turned down my request. I had to choose one book, and I picked up the one that appealed to me the most. It was titled World’s Greatest Scientists & Inventors. As the title suggests, the book was about the lives of scientists who made some path-breaking discoveries and invented the machines that would go on to shape the future. I was so absorbed in the book that I finished it within a couple of days. Now, some of you might be thinking what a nerd I was at that tender age. Well, I couldn’t agree with you more! In fact, had I read my textbooks with such enthusiasm, I would have been the best in my class from the very outset.
After finishing that book, I started pestering my dad for another book. Seeing how fast I could read, it didn’t take long for him to figure out that he would go bankrupt at that rate. So, he set some ground rules – I would be allowed no more than three books a month. In other words, I had taken a subscription where my dad was both the payer and the provider. Oh, just in case you were wondering, the subscription has continued to date.
As I grew older, I delved deeper into the world of literature, fiction, and fantasy. I had the privilege of reading legendary authors like Shakespeare, Ruskin Bond, William Wordsworth, Satyajit Ray, Sharadindu Bandopadhyay and Sunil Gangopadhyay. I also had the pleasure to know characters like Byomkesh Bakshi, Feluda and Kakababu. The characters from Tinkle, Chacha Chaudhary, Nonte Phonte, Bantul the Great and Abol-Tabol could always crack me up, even on days when I didn’t feel myself.
And now, I would like to mention this in a separate line and paragraph just to reflect the immense admiration I have for the one and only Rabindranath Tagore. There will be very few Indians who wouldn’t have read at least one of Tagore’s works. Stories like Kabuliwala and Chokher Bali, books like Golpoguccho, and novels like Dakghor are absolute masterpieces.
As I am about to enter my 20’s, I find more meaning in the pages of Life’s Amazing Secrets, a self-help motivational book by the extraordinary monk that Gaur Gopal Das is. His unique perspective on every aspect of life pushes me to be a loving son, a better sibling, and a trustworthy friend. Books like Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Morgan Housel’s The Psychology of Money and Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad have been mentoring me to face the real world out there.
The more I read, the more amazed I am at how many more books there could be that I haven’t even heard of. I wouldn’t even like to speculate on how much knowledge and wisdom they would have on offer! The more I think about it, the sadder I feel. I guess the only way to deal with it is to accept the timeless truth that one can never – at least not in a lifetime – read all the books ever written and listen to all the music ever composed. That’s why I read and read with a vow to read as much as I can until that last impulse makes its way to my brain.
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