I cannot pinpoint the exact moment in my life where I could say I fell in love with books. I had, after all, been into reading from a very young age. However, I do remember an incident that turned out to be decisive in my journey as a reader.
I was around ten at the time. One day, I started crying and throwing tantrums around the house because I had nothing to read. You see, I had completed all the books at home, not to mention the ones I had borrowed and returned. I had even re-read most of them countless times. The feeling of not having anything to read was agonizing. I know it sounds overly dramatic, but books had become an essential part of my routine by this point.
On the other hand, my parents were getting sick of having to get me a new book every now and then. Part of the blame was mine, for I was a super-fast reader. Fed up of my seemingly unhealthy reading habits, they gifted me a library membership on my thirteenth birthday. Somehow, I had remained blissfully unaware of the existence of that library in my city all those years!
The library had different sections for a variety of activities, but the primary section was all about books. I spent the first year going through every single one of Enid Blyton’s books, be it The Mystery Series, Famous Five, Malory Towers, Naughtiest Girl and St. Clare’s. Even my librarian had apparently had enough of my obsession with one author and suggested me to give others a try. However, I found it difficult to look beyond Blyton. It took me another couple of series by her to get some closure.
Thereafter, I got the opportunity to explore the works of other authors like E. L. Konigsburg, Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman, Jacqueline Wilson, R. J. Palacio, and many more. I was such a voracious reader that, by the point it was time for me to renew my membership, the librarian remarked, ‘I don’t know what book to give you now. You’ve read almost everything we had in here.’
Honestly, that was the best thing I had ever heard. I felt so proud of myself. However, this joy was short-lived. She took me to the other side of the library, where they had another small section full of books. She told me that this section was meant for people aged fifteen and above. Since I was done with most of the children’s books they had in the library, it was time for me to level up.
It was here that I discovered old classics like Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre and The Fountainhead to name a few. Here, the books were far more complex, both in terms of the plot and the writing style, which meant it sometimes took me up to a whole month to complete a book. My last book from that part of the library was Michelle Moran’s Nefertiti, which I read at the age of 16. The library was then closed down due to some issues. I then started saving up to buy books on my own and fulfill my newfound dream – that of having my own library. I would often buy books at some fair or exhibition to get a better deal.
My college days considerably brought down my reading hours. For someone who read so much and so often, I reached a point where I was reading just one book a year. Over time, other commitments put a complete stop to my passion for reading.
Even so, books would ultimately play a major role in helping me take the biggest decision of my career – I wanted to be a filmmaker. Having read and lived so many stories throughout my childhood, I desperately wanted to bring some of those stories alive. Filmmaking was the only way I could pull that off.
While I no longer read anywhere close to what I used to, books are still my constant companions on a relaxing vacation, even if I’m sure I won’t be able to read them. It might sound weird, but having books around feels relaxing. They are my solace; an escape from the mundane world.
A NOTE TO OUR READERS
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