Monday, 2 March 2020

Evolution of my Relationship with Books

I still remember those days when my mother would relentlessly persuade me to read books. I was just six or seven years old then. She even bought me children’s version of Panchathantra and the Vikramaditya and the Vedhal. But I refused to read.

As a child, I was never able to visualise the written words. Maybe I lacked imagination, or I was just lazy. I am not sure. However, I always enjoyed the stories that my mother used to narrate while feeding me or during random occasions. Those were mostly of Lord Krishna and his mischievous endeavours. I loved them all. They were quirky and I was able to relate to them. If I couldn’t, I ensured that I managed to follow his footprints and replicate those scenarios myself. Once I ended up stealing the butter from the refrigerator.

As years passed, my interest to read never intensified. My parents didn’t give up either. They always encouraged me to read by gifting some book or the other. I still remember getting Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone when I was thirteen. I used to carry it everywhere because it had a pink cover! But beyond that I didn’t care. I didn’t understand what a ‘cloak’ or ‘wand’ meant. My English and its grammar were always good, but my vocabulary was limited. And, I never cared enough to learn more.

Finally, when I was fifteen, I realised that I am just being dumb. I didn’t know the worlds of Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys. I certainly didn’t know what Mills & Boons offered. I just had no idea! That’s when I enrolled in a nearby library. And one of the first books I read was David Copperfield. And my relationship thus began. Though I was a little too old for the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, I read them. I read Classics and fictions as well. Dictionary became my handbag essential. I completed all the books of Sydney Sheldon and had special liking for Danielle Steel. I was enthralled by the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi. I didn’t know which book was good or which one was a bestseller. Those were the days when the mobile phones were not smart enough and dial up internet connection not accessible for all. So, I read - sometimes judging by the book cover or by the book blurb. Soon, I realised that I am a Harry Potter fan and eagerly waited for the new releases since then.

Chetan Bagat’s Five Point Someone introduced me to simple English and relatable stories. I didn’t require a dictionary anymore. So, I continued to read Anuja Chauhan, Ravinder Singh, Preeti Shenoy and so on. Later, when I attended a professional training after I completed my Chartered Accountant final examination, I was introduced to the world of non-fiction. Soon, Who Moved my Cheese, Six Thinking Hats and so on became my favourites too.
It was around this time, I started blogging. And I managed to read hundreds of books through the Book Review programs. While some were good, most of them were horrible. I enjoyed reading the first books of Ashwin Sanghi, Devdutt Patnaik, Ravi Subramaniam and others who later became celebrated authors. After three to four years of book reviews, I decided to stop! I realised that I am not getting enough time to read the books that I enjoy.

Then, one day, I bought Amazon Kindle – it paved way to books that I would never have imagined to read or complete otherwise. The Fountainhead, Perfume, To Kill a Mockingbird and what not. I was happier to own more e-Books because I had some space constraints too.

As years passed, I happily switched between a physical book and e-book. That’s when I came across Audibles by Amazon. But I wasn’t very keen to use it. My long commute to and from office was usually spent by listening to almost same set of songs in my playlist. I was quite happy with my routine. But, as months passed, I was tired of those songs. That’s when I decided to experiment with Audible. Honestly, when I think about it, that wasn’t the case. I was reading this book – Permanent Record - borrowed from a friend. I had to give it back to him; but I was around halfway through. It was an expensive book and I had already read half. So, I didn’t feel like buying a copy. When I learnt that having an Amazon Prime subscription would give me three months free trial to use the Audible, I shamelessly signed up for it. This opened doors towards an unknown bliss. Little did I know that I was signing up for a lifestyle change! This was in November and I have already experimented with several genres ranging from self-help books to autobiographies to non-fictions. I also heard a couple of fictions which didn’t work too well for me, given the fact that there were too many characters and dialogs which was difficult to follow. Other than that, I am happy!

I am proud to reiterate that substance matters over the form. If the objective is to read as much as books as possible across genres, one should not shy away from trying various options. Of course, the smell of book is irreplaceable. But then there are other unavoidable constraints too – in my case space and monetary ones. Ah! Time also – what a limited resource it is.

In short, what matters is reading. Keep reading regardless of the genres, language (if possible) and most importantly format.

Happy reading!!!

1 comment:

  1. Well at least you knew at the age of 13 that Harry Potter existed. It seems Chetan Bagat is the starting point for most readers including me as Two States was the first book I managed to finish, and the second was Preeti Shenoy's life is what you make of it. After that I moved to Dan brown, Lord of the rings and a few science fiction works. At that time I did touched on 'The perfume' and read 'mockingbird' too. But my reading stint was very short lived, a couple of years at most. I always stayed away from audio books though but I guess I should give it a try... Good write up by the way.