Well, we will need to go a long way back to understand my chemistry with books. I feel that my penchant for books is purely genetic as both my parents and grandparents had healthy reading habits. As they say, when you enjoy doing something, you lose track of everything around you. That’s just how I felt when I became fully engrossed in reading.

As far as I can recall, it all started when, as a kid, I used to listen to my mother’s bedtime stories. This went on for a long time until I was ready to go to primary school. As she gradually put an end to that bedtime-story ritual, the habituated story lover in me started feeling disappointed. One day, I asked her why she had stopped reading out stories to me. It was her response that set the stage for one of my most peculiar pastimes.

“Because you are not a child anymore. You should rather start reading books on your own.”

Anxiety was soon followed by curiosity. I started with the children’s magazine that came along with the local newspaper. I soon transitioned to reading comics. Whenever I read a story, regardless of how short or long it was, I was always gripped by the thrill of what was going to happen next. This went on for years until I was a seventh grader.

As I moved to another school after reaching the seventh grade, I came across a wide range of books during my first library period there. I was utterly perplexed by the wide range of stories they contained, for I had never seen that many books before. Since we were kids, we were only given comics at my previous school. I also came to know that we could borrow books for a week. This came as a pleasant surprise to me.

Pooja Sakthivel's new school library consolidated her reading habits

From then on, I started borrowing a book every week. Once I was done reading it, I would rush to the library to get another book issued. It would be fair to say that my academics had taken a back seat by that point of time. Wherever I went, I almost always had a storybook with me. Naturally, my mom would often scold me for not concentrating enough on my studies.

As my ninth grade beckoned, I was sent to another boarding school. The library there was full of reference books (and no storybooks!). While it was quite a frustrating change for me, my parents were quite content. Worried by my frequent trips to the library, they had decided to move me to another school, where I could prepare better for the board exams in the following year. The next four years weren’t the happiest four years of my life; I could not read a single storybook during that dull phase of my life. However, whenever I came home for vacations, I would more than make up for the time I spent away from them.

Fast-forward to the present and I am a free bird now. Having gained admission to the best college in town, I can now access its magnificent library, which has a large number of reference books and novels. No, you don’t need to be a genius to guess which ones I still prefer to read.

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