My mother instilled in me the habit of reading storybooks when I was about four or five years old. My first book was Little Red Riding Hood. And ever since, I have been obsessed with books simply because they opened up to me new places where I was either Snow White trying to escape my Evil Stepmother, or a mere onlooker hiding in the woods watching Hansel and Gretel enter the witch’s hut.

Unsurprisingly, I had grown into a bookworm even before I knew the meaning of “bookworm”. As a child of ten or twelve years, I was praised by my school teachers for my choice of books at the Scholastic Book Fairs every year. I watched cartoons like other kids, but I was always more drawn toward books. I remember reading the Harry Potter series at the age of ten! Of course, I had to read the dictionary more than the books themselves, but that did not dampen my enthusiasm one bit. So addicted I had become to reading that I would often hide in different parts of the house to read novels instead of my textbooks! In fact, as middle school saw me transition from Enid Blyton to Agatha Christie, my mother would have to hide my novels when exams were round the corner.

I must say, high school was a real drag for me. Being a science student, I was burdened with dozens of tuition classes and scores of pending assignments with impossible deadlines. Reading a novel in the house had become somewhat of a crime in my parents’ eyes! This was in stark contrast to the times when my reading habits were encouraged after I would have my articles published in the school magazine every year. My high-school life made me realize that I actually wanted to be an author. As someone who would pen down short poems on her gloomy days, I knew for a fact that I could express myself better on a piece of paper than, say, in a one-to-one conversation.

College life reintroduced me to the freedom I missed in high school. I took that opportunity to treat myself to some of the best works of Sidney Sheldon and Dan Brown. However, by then, I had come across Netflix and realized that it was gobbling up all good series!

College life gave Sneha Roy a chance to rediscover her love for reading

Anyways, moving over to the recent past, I have been working as a software engineer at an MNC for two years now. Reading novels still remains my favorite pastime. I am not really a fan of ebooks, though. I strongly believe that the touch and feel of a soft piece of paper and the irresistible smell of a new book are irreplaceable. After all, these are the attributes that endear books to new and seasoned readers alike.

As for me, I have gone back to my cherished habit of reading. I particulary enjoy reading Ruskin Bond, Roald Dahl, and Enid Blyton as they give me just the touch of fantasy that I need to survive the world as an adult now. Of course, I still read any Sidney Sheldon and Agatha Christie books that I can lay my hands on!

I have also started listening to audiobooks of late. Audiobooks require much less effort than reading a physical copy, and I could not have enjoyed them more. I have been fondly listening to the stories by Budhhadeb Guha, Samaresh Majumder and Sunil Gangopadhyay, all renowned Bengali writers.

All in all, regardless of the format, books have made me understand just how critical they are to retaining my sanity in this crazy world. For me, they are both a mirror to reality and an escape from it.



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