I still remember the day as if it were yesterday. I was in grade two, trying to convince my mother to let me watch Aladdin before completing my homework. And as any 90’s kid would tell you, missing an episode of Aladdin was a big deal back then! Unless I managed to complete my homework in time, that nightmare was on the verge of coming true. Eventually, I did get to watch it, albeit after agreeing to the stringent terms and conditions imposed by my mother.

Anyway, the day was yet to unfold the magic that it had in store for me. You see, my eldest brother had brought some books from the school library, and was fondly talking about them. He even showed us those books after a while. It was the story of Peter Pan. It was a three-book collection, and each book was pretty long – even longer than my drawing textbook! I gazed at them in fascination and could barely speak for a few moments. It was as though I had seen Aladdin’s magic lamp! As I flipped through the pages, the pictures, the color theme and the glossy cover left me awestruck.

Reading the book was an even better experience. I could hear the characters talking to me, as if narrating their story. Some dialogs like “Don’t grow up! It’s a trap!” just seemed so real. It was like I had been transported to a different world altogether. I was living so many lives at once. It felt as if I had the power of time travel. Surprisingly, it did not even need a TV to experience that emotion!

For an introvert like me, I found my best friends in books. In fact, it was to become a lifelong bond. Reading about different characters, I felt that I could actually live the protagonist’s life. I could learn from their mistakes and experiences, and have a lot of friends to teach me different things from their perspectives.

Saroj Gupta became a regular reader after she had a chance to read Peter Pan

Since that day, I started looking forward to the library period. Summer vacation became the perfect occasion to read up every story in my textbooks. And it offered the ideal opportunity for me to visit the local bookshops in search of some more magical trips to unknown lands.


In addition to an avid reader, Saroj is also an accomplished graphic designer. Please take a moment to check out her Instagram handle here.

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