Tale of an avid reader
I must confess I use to hate the idea of reading when I was a kid. Reading was never my cup of coffee. A few girls from my school would get books from the Buddha educational foundation in Taiwan and they would read a lot. I use to wonder what’s so cool in a book that girls are hooked reading it till the end. If by chance a book came in my hand, I would just leaf through the pages and look for colorful pictures, forget reading even a single line. Teachers use to constantly advise us to read books so as to improve language and knowledge. But it was never the sweetest of advice to follow that time. Playing hides and seeks and collecting wild straw berries from the meadow above my village would kill most of my free time. Due to this I have very limited knowledge of popular children’s fairy tales and comics of that time.
However as I joined High school, things started to change for the better. One fine afternoon I went to the school library and picked up ‘The Pilgrimage’ by Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. This book was a game changer. I grew immensely fond of Paulo Coelho and managed to read most of his books, from ‘The Alchemist’ to ‘The Fifth Mountain’, from ‘Veronica decides to die’ to the ‘Zahir’. ‘By the river Piedra I sat down and wept’ is my all time favorite by the writer. His books are full of wisdom and inspiration. Every weekend when my classmates would play basket ball, I would be somewhere in the bush reading. ‘The monk who sold his Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma led me to read other inspirational books too. ‘The Cleft’ by Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing is a book that I will never forget. ‘Sands of time’ by Sidney Sheldon is one of the earliest books that I have read. I also read lots of books on spirituality. His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s books provided me a new dimension to see the world from a realistic context. Charles Allen’s ‘Ashoka’ offered me insights into the pre-modern Buddhist scenario in India and I also got to know why Buddhism disappeared completely from India-the birth place of Lord Buddha and Buddhism. Of late I have found a new love of reading books by contemporary Indian writes like Chetan Bhagat.
Some years ago, while I was reading a book, I came across a saying, “when I have little money, I first buy books, then foods and cloths”. This piece of saying somehow got permanently engraved in my subconscious mind. I never hesitate to buy the book I want to read even if I have to compromise for my pocket money. I will remain an avid reader all my life. Reading to me is like going on an adventurous voyage to Mars. Each new book fills us with a new set of ideas. It is the cheapest and easiest source of knowledge. In a nutshell, I love books and I love reading. I believe the world could be a better place if children learn to read good books and make reading a lifelong habit. But unfortunately this is not the case.