I still remember the first time I read a book beyond my school syllabus. I was in ninth standard at that time, and I was in the middle of my summer holidays. My father had brought a few copies of the Ramayana and the MahabharataΒ from his college library. There were quite a few volumes throwing light on each and every little detail of those epics, which are a part of our rich history and tradition.

Although those books were meant for my mother, destiny had other plans. Attracted to their vibrant covers at first and to their breathtaking content later, I didn’t take me long to finish all the volumes. Being a little kid that I was, that reading experience had a momentous impact on my life. Not only had I developed a taste for reading, but had also come across a newfound interest in writing!

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Talking of books, there’s another significant incident that took place when I was pursuing my Master’s in Engineering from IISc Bangalore. My guide, who was also my mentor, said the following words to me one day: “God forbid, if, in life, you are ever faced by the dilemma of choosing between good clothes or shoes on the one hand and a good book on the other, do not give it a second thought before buying the book, for they can change and enhance your personality like no piece of garment or footwear ever can.” I made these words the cornerstone of my life. Once I started investing both my money and – more importantly – my time in good books, I found a new way to fightΒ and win several battles in my life.

Some of the books that proved to be game-changers as far as my dwindling fortunes were concerned were The Magic of Thinking Big and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. My father insisted on me reading these two books and, believe you me, they were so worth it. They made me so much more positive about life. However, historical fiction still remains my favorite genre. Amish’s Shiva Trilogy is one series that never ceases to amaze me. Jack Welch’s Winning has also been a positive influence on my life.

Ravi with some of his favorite books

Words, when documented in a book, become immortal. They have the power to change lives. On the other hand, a bad book can spoil a good mind. So, while reading isn’t essentially good or bad, it is the choice of books we read that makes it a worthwhile thing to do. Most of us are initiated into the pleasure of reading by our friends and family members, so we have that duty to encourage others to do the same. After all, that’s what sets a hobby apart from a culture – and it’s the latter we need to foster.

All in all, books are an integral part of my life today. The changing technology has also changed the way we interact with books. I have slowly progressed from those lovely paperbacks and hardcovers to environment-friendly e-books (I still have an inexplicable predilection for hardcovers, though).

Thank you for sharing your wonderful story with us, Ravi! We do hope that it will inspire more and more people to take to reading and, of course, sharing their story with us.