As a child, I remember growing up listening to my grandma’s wonderful stories, which were recited to me as songs. The characters in those stories would meander in my imagination and I would play with all those cows, buffaloes, princes, princesses, and all the other characters that came alive in the colorful world of a child’s mind. At a tender age of 7 or 8, it were those beautiful dreams that prompted me to always carry around a Panchtantra.

I would seldom understand what my dad meant with his cliché “our lives need to be like open books”. However, as a 10-year-old, I would sit with him for a nice reading session. Frankly, I was more interested in the pictures in those books than the books themselves, though I slowly made it a hobby to look beyond those colorful portraits.

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Books are an ocean of knowledge. When we read a book, we become accomplices to the joy, sorrow, adventures and all the ups and downs in life experienced by its characters. That’s when we open up and so do our lives, thus becoming like open books. We do not feel any hesitation or fear psychosis to approach or deal with any situation in our lives, which, in turn, gives us the strength and the positive mindset to face the world with zeal.

I was very fond of going through the Sunday locals, which would publish an entire page dedicated to kids’ stories every week. This reading fever stimulated me to become a member of the libraries, where I’d sit and devour stories of Akbar and Birbal, Mickie and Minnie and classic fairy tales such as Alice in Wonderland, among others. Gradually, I transitioned from someone who would dream about elves and leprechauns to an avid reader of science fiction books. I subscribed to Reader’s Digest to get my monthly dose of jokes, facts, first-hand experiences of globetrotters and so on.

As I became a teenager, I hardly realized that I had taken to reading motivational books (a worthwhile book is always motivational in some way or the other, anyway). Hercules was the one character whom I immensely admired in my teenage years. I would always wonder how he managed to invoke such superlative strength. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that I idolized him, which is what helped me excel at my inter-college sports’ competitions. I knew many people will find this funny and even ridiculous, but I did look up to the character of Hercules as a role model.

Navya Roshan and her relationship with books

These days I am reading Napoleon Hill’s Do It Now. Now, a mature woman, I can say that books, their characters and the situations those characters find themselves in (positively) influence a human being’s outlook and behavior. I often see my dad narrating stories of emperors riding horses to my 2-year-old son. From what I have observed, his imagination has already started to revolve around those stories. His meals are invariably supplemented with stories, which will surely build his character as he grows up. I guess life would come full circle as we look to sow the seeds of an unquenchable thirst for reading in him and hope that he can inculcate the same values when he has the privilege of becoming a parent.

We hope the same, Navya. Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us!

So, what are your views about Navya’s story? Do let us know in the comments below. If you have a story of your own, we’d be more than pleased to share it with our ever-growing community of voracious Indian readers. Click here to know more.

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