Reading Is Probably The Most Enlightening Experience One Could Have

When I was little, I did not like reading… at all. I only read when I was forced to read one. My reading habit only developed after I reached high school. Many of my friends and teachers in high school were ardent readers and shared keen interest for books. Wherever I went I saw people carrying books in their hands – in assembly, in multipurpose hall, in dining hall, at balcony, at school garden, and, at rare occasions, I would see a guy carrying a book in his hand coming out from toilet. In his defense, I think he was making most out of his time by multitasking two businesses at a time. And I respect that.

The whole setting was different. Everything was big, beautiful and… old: students, teachers, buildings and books. The only new thing here was ‘us’ – new students from lower secondary schools. We were left spellbound by the whole experience around us, and the environment we were in. Eventually it did fade away – the spell – as we also became part of the school, like many students before us. One thing that is still fresh in my memories is The Library. It was double, maybe triple, the size of my previous school’s library. And the books… the books were plenty and several in volumes. I just admired the magnificent size of it. (I too have started to collect books since then, and I continue to add new books in my personal library. By count I have 452 different books. As I reflect, my mom used to complain about the space it took in the house. To which I would promptly retort: “Don’t worry mom! I’m soon going to send all these books to your daughter-in-law’s house.”)

Where were we? I guess I got carried away with my book collection. Let’s get back to where we were.

Reading is contagious, and when you spend most of your time with people who read 100+ books in a year, you are bound to become one. My metamorphosis was followed by borrowing of books from library. 

I would borrow a new book every single week. At times I felt I was burdening the librarian with my weekly demands, but later I found she also shared same passion for books/reading. With my regular visits and interaction, we developed a special bond (book-friends, I would say) and shared same interest. We began to exchange our favorite reading lists with each other. She would recommend books – mostly fiction – and I would read in my spare time. I would also recommend her books – mostly nonfiction – and she would read in her spare time. We also shared our opinion after reading the books. It was a healthy practice I somehow enjoyed it. And when I graduated my high school, I continued my practice in college. And then after my college.

Today I am proud to say that I am a Reader – an ardent reader, if I may. All thanks to my friends, teachers and people who inspired me to read when I was in high school. The habit continued and today I am reaping its benefits. If I had to describe my reading experience in few words, it is this:

“Reading is probably the most enlightening experience one can have. It takes us to a myriad of journeys that is only limited to our imagination. The sadness, the happiness – all kinds of emotions – places, objects, animals, people… everything is condensed in one little book, which is mindboggling, but at the same time beautiful. One gets to pick it up from a shelf and read it, I think it’s a gift in itself. If people don’t read it then it’s their loss; a terrible loss. They don’t know what they are missing. Maybe a gift is not meant for everyone, but the deserved few. And I am proud to be one.”

My only wish is that more people come forward and start reading more books.  

Until then, enjoy reading! 

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