I woke up one morning in April 1993 and knew something was not right. I was feeling uneasy, feverish and weak. My parents took me to a doctor and some tests were conducted. I was diagnosed with jaundice.
This proved to be a turning point in my life. I had to stay home for 3 months with nothing to do. And for a restless guy like me, it meant hell.
And then, my mother brought a book to keep me occupied – Shadow the Sheepdog by Enid Blyton. I read it. Little did I know that this book would act as a door to a magical world. I lapped up all Enid Blyton books and then started attacking Tintin, Asterix, Chandamama, Tinkle and Agatha Christies. I became a member of my city’s oldest library (M. J. Library in Ahmedabad) and visited it every Sunday to read as much as it had to offer. I also started visiting roadside book sellers who sold cheaply printed copies of all types of books.
This was 18 years ago, and I have never looked back. I have been like a tiger who has tasted human blood. I have been reading so much that have lost track of the number of books. I have gone through various cycles in my life – a spiritual phase where I read all such books, a fitness phase – where I read only on exercising, a science fiction phase, a management & finance phase and even a self-help phase. 🙂
People ask me why I read books and what I get by spending so much time on this activity. And tell you very frankly, I too don’t know. There might have been a lot of side benefits of this hobby and but if you want me to pinpoint one, I would say that it opens you up to a world of infinite possibilities. You get a glimpse of a world beyond what you actually see and hear in your life. And that thrill will never leave. For every book you pick up, you enter into another world. And those who read like crazy, will agree with me – this passion is like a matrix, you can always go in, but once in you can never leave. 🙂
Does this blog inspire you to read? And then don’t think, just do it – go to a library or a book store and pick up a book. The reading will require an initial effort but in the end, it will be truly worth it. 🙂
12 December 2015 update: You can find the names of some really great books that I recommend here – Book notes.