Years ago, the 10-year-old me was very excited as we made our way to our village on a fateful holiday, and I had every reason to feel that way. After all, I was exceedingly fond of my grandmother’s special pedas, which, mind you, are still my favorite. As I wandered around the old granary, I stumbled across a couple of wooden cabinets. The rope-sealed furniture immediately caught my imagination and it didn’t take me long to get it opened. It contained the books that my grandfather had left behind. While time had left its indelible marks on many of them, there was still a fair number of books that were pleading to be reopened and reread. Even though I had never met my granddad, he changed my life more than anyone else ever would, thanks to those books.

A few books from the personal collection of Utkarsh's grandfather

His book collection was all about the ancient and medieval history of India, such as the Vedas, timeless folktales, and biographies of classic Indian philosophers. My favorites, though, were immortal Indian plays such as Mrichchhakatika, Kumarsambhav, Abhigyan Shakuntalam, among others. Albeit small, that library whetted my appetite for reading and exploring more about the profundities of life and its purpose; it shaped my thought process.

Years later, I read the legends of modern Hindi literature such as Munshi Premchand, Acharya Chatursen Shastri, Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, and many more in my college library. As a student of engineering, I probably read more literature books than those in my curriculum. I made it a rule to read at least ten books every semester. More often than not, I ended up reading a lot more than that. The college library also helped me gain valuable insights into the inspirational lives of India’s great freedom fighters through their autobiographies and biographies.

By the time I graduated, I had read about several philosophies and ideologies. However, I was in for a surprise, nay a shock once I started working – I had no financial education whatsoever! I had absolutely no idea what to do with my money. That’s when I decided to read a few books about financial management, and given that there are few finance-management books that come anywhere close to Rich Dad Poor Dad, much less surpass it, I didn’t have to waste a lot of time choosing. The book didn’t disappoint as it added a new dimension to my thinking.

I owe all my knowledge about life – and death (thanks to the Bhagavad Gita) – to books. I feel that reading can answer all our questions (and spring up new questions as well), provided that we do it with an open mind. I would recommend everyone to read Narendra Kohli’s Mahasamar series, Mahatama Gandhi’s My Experiments with Truth, Munshi Premchand’s Godan, and Tony Robbins’ Money Master the Game, all of which are among my all-time favorite reads.


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