I started reading from a very young age. It was my grandmother who had introduced me to reading.  I vividly remember sitting in my dadi’s lap and reading illustrated books of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata in my mother tongue, Telugu. Later on, I graduated to the Panchatantra and Tenali Rama.

My love for books increased with age. Convent education introduced me to English literature. Being an introvert, reading helped me to keep myself occupied. I was always in the school library, reading one novel or the other, while my friends would be busy playing outside. From Famous Five and Mills & Boon as a teenager, I have read a number of books in Telugu and English till now.

As a kid, I was addicted to Reader’s Digest and Tinkle, eagerly waiting every month to grab my copy of those magazines. Reading and re-reading them gave me immense happiness. Reading was my favorite hobby, and, more often than not, I had a book in my hand. For my friends and cousins, I was a bookworm. Reading helped me to improve my vocabulary and excel in studies. I often looked up the meanings of words in the dictionary, and that helped me to boost both the number and diversity of the words I had in my arsenal.

Studies, marriage and then kids put a break on my reading. But, as they say, “true friendship isn’t about being inseparable, it’s being separated and nothing changes”. I started reading again once my kids were old enough to start going to school. It was like long-lost friends meeting once again as if they had just seen each other the day before. I would pick up a book and would not put it down until I was completely done with it.

Veena's collection of books

From Dan Brown and Paulo Coelho to Amish Tripathi and Ashwin Sanghi, I have read them all. Though fiction and suspense are my favorite genres, I am not averse to the idea of reading other types of books. Besides Telugu and English, I sometimes enjoy reading the same book in both the languages – the original one and the translated one.

Reading helps me connect with myself and dedicate a bit more time to my personal growth. I prefer to read a book whenever I have some time on my hands. Reading lifts my spirits when I am down; it also serves as an escape route into a world of imagination, away from the musings of a mundane life.

Veena and her daughter engrossed in reading
Praveena and her daughter

I believe that reading opens up the doors of creativity, and that’s the reason why I have inculcated this habit in my children as well. I read out to my children different stories in both Telugu and English, and have seen the impact reading has on young minds. I feel proud whenever I realize that my teenage daughter has inherited my passion for reading. She is already the proud owner of a mini-library with an impressive collection of books like Matilda and the Harry Potter series, among others.

Praveena reading Sidney Sheldon

I strongly believe that a reading habit should be inculcated in children from a very young age. Instead of giving our kids laptops and smartphones, we should introduce them to books. This will have a positive impact on their mental well-being besides also helping us to create responsible individuals, who can think and do wonders.

We couldn’t have agreed more with you there, Praveena! What’s your take on her story and views? Feel free to let us know in the comments below. If you have a story to tell, what are you waiting for to get in touch with us?