I am Swati and I hail from Nizamabad, which is a small town in the state of Telangana. I wasn’t really into books in my early years. It was probably because I hadn’t grown up listening to bedtime stories or found any inspiration within my family. I was in eighth grade when I read my first-ever book. The act was necessitated more by the fact that it was part of our English curriculum than any newfound interest in reading.
It was titled The Hound of The Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The book was so interesting that I found it impossible to stop once I had begun reading it. That, in my opinion, was the defining moment for books in my life. Once I had read that book, there was no looking back. I would persuade my mother to take me to the annual exhibition in our town and buy me all the English books available there – which were, mind you, no more than four or five in number!
To be honest, that was my only source of getting new books. That’s why it felt like a dream come true when Amazon started delivering to our town. My reading wish list swelled tremendously and I transformed into a whole new person altogether. My conversations with my friends and siblings centered around the books I had read. Over time, I realized the power a book held – the power to inspire and induce change. It was this very power of books that kind of became my superpower and turned me into an overnight inspiration for many in our town.
Even after so many years today, I fell the same passion for reading and cannot envision my life without books. There are a couple of lines from an evergreen Hindi song that perfectly encapsulate my feelings every time I am done reading a good book: “Aaj main upar, aasmaan neeche… Aaj main aage, zamaana hai peeche…” (Today, I have the sky at my feet… Today, I know why happiness tastes so sweet…)
This sense of empowerment is actually the reason why I encourage everyone to read more, by both recommending and lending them books.
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