Call me old-fashioned, but I’m the type of person who’d choose reading over any other form or method of learning. I have no one else but my mother to thank for that. Having been brought up at a time when education was highly discouraged by her family, she made sure that three of her children were avid readers, just like their father.

While I can’t speak on behalf of my eldest sister, I remember back when my elder sister and I were three and five respectively. Our mother used to make sure that we would read a page of a storybook before going to bed. Back then, reading a page was a Herculean task – something we used to dread. My sister and I used to make such a fuss, but mom wouldn’t take no for an answer. Unbeknownst to us, the desire to read was being imbibed in us.

As regards the school, our mother never attached excessive or undue importance to our textbooks. After school, she would make us read our textbooks. She would encourage us to skip ahead to the next chapter, which had not been taught to us yet. She used to tell us that, while the notes and summaries did answer the textual questions, reading the text would give us a different perspective from the one that the teacher conveyed to us in the classroom. And boy, was she right! We were able to deal with and answer all those tricky questions that would leave our classmates scratching their heads.

She would often take us to the nearby library to make this hobby even more interesting. Ironically, it was fun going to that deserted library whose aisles led to emptiness (it sounds too poetic, I know, but blame it on the poor lighting!). Even dad did not seem to have any objections to spending money on books, something I still admire and follow. While my sister would chase Agatha Christie down the halls, I would sit engrossed in the reference section, looking for more information on what I wanted to know at that moment. What is now a simple Google search, took me a good fifteen minutes to find out back in the day. And the effort was well worth it.

By this point, the utility of reading had dawned upon us. And from that point, there was no turning back. While I and my sisters have different tastes when it comes to books and genres, there’s no denying the fact that we’d read anything we can get our hands on. A blog on horology? Sign me up! Ingredients on the bottle of a deodorant? Sounds interesting to me! Pamphlet on root canals at the dentist’s? I’ll take one.

A NOTE TO OUR INDIAN READERS

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