Hello! I’m Tiyasha Chakraborty. I am a grade eleven, humanities student.

Well, my passion for reading is relatively recent. I had always wondered how could a mere assemblage of off-white pages with thousands of words printed on it give pleasure to someone. What I found even more baffling was how someone could have reading as their favorite pastime, being engrossed in books for hours. As far as I was concerned, my relation with books was limited to my academics. No wonder I had no idea how delightful reading could get.

My first encounter with books was around the age of eleven, when I attended Kolkata’s largest book fair. The first book I ever bought was Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Despite being my first non-academic read, I was able to finish the book in just three days! I was absolutely thrilled, both by this little achievement of mine and, of course, the book itself. This was enough for me to understand how books could be the perfect escape from the not-so-exciting world of exams, projects, grades, school, and tuition. Over the coming days, I would go on to read classics like David Copperfield, Sherlock Holmes, Oliver Twist, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Diary of a Young Girl and The Story of My Life, among others. Classics and mystery were my favorite genres.

Honestly, I began loving it how my eyes would get involuntarily wider and my body motionless as tears rolled down my eyes. From then on, I knew books would make for the best gifts for me, be it on my birthday or after I aced my exams. Attending book fairs with my mother became something I started looking forward to.

Fast-forward to last year, 2022. It was a great year in terms of the books I read. I started off with Shantanu Naidu’s I Came Upon a Lighthouse. We are all familiar with Ratan Tata the industrialist, but to me he is much more than that. The book gives remarkable insights into the other, concealed side of this great personality. The author describes in detail how his bond with Mr. Tata got stronger over time and how it enriched his own life. It was this book that taught me just how modest, self-effacing, honest, kind, compassionate and committed one has to be in order to be called great. It was this book that showed me how the smallest of gestures can tell so much about a person and leave a lasting impact on anyone who comes in contact with them. This book would compel anyone to respect and admire this great man.

I would like to dedicate November 2022 to the mystery writer, Salil Desai. Having read a few classics, I was longing to read some mystery novels. That is when I stumbled upon Desai’s Killing Ashish Karve. The book took me through the entire investigation of a cold-blooded murder in India. Reading it made me feel like an invisible police inspector examining the corpse. I don’t have words to describe how effortlessly my eyes sailed through the pages as my mind tried hard to work out who the murderer was; I was in a rush to prove that my suspicion had been right all along. That said, the truths behind the murders are bone-chilling.

To sum up, books are both beautiful and dull, imaginary and real, and motivating and depressing. They can calm you down and enrage you; they can turn you into a spectator of the life journey of a non-existent being. Reading can really change one’s perspective on life. It helps us imagine the impossible and widen the boundaries of our thoughts. It has the power to put us in the shoes of someone who lived hundreds of years ago, or someone who will live a hundred years from now.


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