I was a seventh grader when the Hindi Pakhwada, a 15-day celebration of the Hindi language, was organized in my school. We also had a quiz competition. As a student who enjoyed taking part in competitions, I was among the first ones to sign up for it. As fate would have it, I ended up securing the first position. However, the joy of this achievement was overshadowed by the fact that my prize was 3 Hindi books – hardly a reward for someone who hated reading! Disappointed with all my hard work going in vain, I put those books in my closet and completely forgot about them.

Months later, after I was done with my board exams and had nothing to do, I had this crazy idea of giving them a read. I went to my closet and picked up a book titled Main Vivekanand Bol Raha Hoon. Captivated by its iconic cover, I decided to give it a go. The more I read, the more interested I became in Vivekananda and his timeless philosophy. It goes without saying that I ended up reading the other two books as well.

Mayank Srivastava reading the Bhagavad Gita

Today, I am the proud owner of a small but valuable collection of 50 books. In fact, I even carry a book with me so that commuting is a whole lot more enjoyable. While I don’t have anything against English, I am quite fond of reading Hindi literature. It is partly because of Hindi being my mother tongue and partly because of the fact that the first book I read (of my own free will) was in Hindi. I am currently reading the Bhagavad Gita, which is a treatise on probably every spiritual and material aspect of human life. I’d like to sum up my short but heartfelt story by saying that we must all give books at least one chance in our life, for they have the power to shape our thoughts, our personality and even our life itself.


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