My story started around 7 years ago, when I was in college. I was blessed to have got a chance to study at a University where I progressed not just academically, but also learned and inculcated life values that helped me enhance my personality. Being active by nature, I organized several social and technical events at college. The National Tech Fest, self-defense workshops, sports day, college trips – you name it. My friends would often quip, “Surbhi, you’re the one person that is present at every corner of the college”.

Surbhi loved to mix with people

I was supposed to take part in a college badminton tournament in September that year. However, in the days leading up to the tournament, I suffered an injury, which was later diagnosed as a slipped disc. Being a people person that would always prefer to spend her time outdoors, I was now asked to spend the next two months in bed. All my life, I had never ever spent such a long time at one single place. And then, all of a sudden, I was faced with the dreary reality of having to remain confined in a room. It didn’t really come across as a surprise when I became frustrated after the first week itself. Every day was irritatingly similar to the previous one; it felt as if I was just going through the motions.

That’s when my friend, who was an avid reader, suggested me to start reading books. To be honest, books had never fascinated me. The only books I had read up to that point were academic ones, which was more out of compulsion than interest. But, as they say, beggars can’t be choosers. Loneliness would become unbearable during the nine hours I used to be alone in the hostel room. With no luxury of choice at my disposal, I asked her to bring me a novel from the college library – any novel of her choice would do! Who was interested in reading, anyway? I thought, nay I knew that this was just a temporary truce between me and books.

Once I was done reading the first book, I found myself reading the second one. Here I’d like to express my gratitude to my friend, who tirelessly brought me one book after another for those two months. She was the one who helped me develop an interest in reading – one that transcended those two long bedridden months, which had suddenly started to seem way too short. I believe that was the turning point in my life. Reading the experiences of other people helped me muster a lot of strength. Reading encouraged me to invest and channelize my energy in the right direction; it rekindled the love for life in me.

I have come a long way since then – both in terms of life experiences and the sheer number of books I have read across a whole range of genres, from fiction to biographies to mysteries, and many more. Seven years since that fateful injury, I am now an avid reader myself. Books helped me see out not just those gloomy two months, but every difficult phase that life has thrown at me since then. And, on normal days, it is more like meditation – it keeps me calm and relaxed. Reading is one activity that I’d recommend everyone to take up. It will sharpen your mind, enrich your vocabulary and shape your personality for the good and bad times in life.

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