Do you still follow the habit of reading a book? Or When was the last time you read a book for fun ?? Or Your reading habits circle around tweets, Facebook updates or the directions on your new oatmeal packet? Based on my personal experiences and accounting the ones shared by my friends I can outline a pattern that many of us don’t like to read anymore.With the technologies booming in our generation, Books, magazines, and newspapers have taken a backseat to laptops, smartphones, TV etc.RIP to all those articles I bookmark and never once read them.We are experts in “Skimming” through an article than actually reading it.I am glad even after all these exceptions and distractions I find some time to actually read these days.I read slow.And I try my best to complete anything I start.I cannot stress this fact enough as I’m one of those obsessive compulsive readers and every time I leave a book unfinished, I swear I can feel it staring back accusingly from my bookshelf until I’m compelled to pick it up again.
One of my closest cousins, Suma, told me she had taken/given off from office over the holidays for like a week after having a hectic work schedule for almost 2 months. I was asking her how did she spend the time.The first thing she told me was she read this book by Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha.A book that deals with the journey of self-discovery of a man towards finding the meaning of life.She was happy that she spent a couple of days reading a book and not worry about work or any other tensions.I had briefly heard about this book.But never had thought of reading.We talk about a lot of things.Among those lot of topics, discussing books is one important thing.And her suggestions can never go wrong.
“It is not for me to judge another man’s life. I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself. For myself, alone.”
― Hermann Hesse,
I have learned that you cannot discuss books with everyone.At every point in my life, I have had so many people with whom I shared the interest in books, read the same books, traded books, discussed the likes and dislikes and opinions.My parents promoted reading my entire life, they have supported it by setting examples and they still do.They are not much into books but into newspapers & magazines.And my Mom is my story teller.And whenever she reads something interesting she shares it with me.Before I got married, She used to keep those articles aside for me to read when I get home.Recently she told me she has been doing the same since I left to the US.I wonder how big the pile must be now.But anything for Moms right?
Just before joining TCS, my first job out of college, My uncle, Nagesh, whom I look up to everything since I could remember, gave me this book The Professional by Subroto Bagchi.I think it was one of the best gifts I ever received.I loved the whole gesture.I mean gifting a book is amazing! Isn’t it ??When you give someone a book, you give them much more than just a collection of ink and paper.When you give someone a book, it’s always personal. It always has thought behind it. In a sea of 3 million possibilities, you picked out one book for one person.Over the years I have gifted and received books and it feels so great.And even before that, I don’t exactly recall when was it, some 10-12 years ago, I had borrowed one of his books, The Complete Life’s Little Instruction Book by H.Jackson Brown. I found this book really inspiring, meaningful and cute.Its a book written by a father to his son who is going away to college.It has approximately 156o instructions which are very practical.You don’t agree with everything in there.Yet they are simple and easy to understand.I am so grateful that I read this book and I wrote down few of them that I liked and I follow some of the instructions that I still remember.
While I was working in Mumbai, I had a colleague of mine, Sreerekha, who is an avid reader and through her, I got to read a lot and exchanged opinions about books.She used to lend me books all the time.Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts was one such book.I spent a lot of reading that book and I enjoyed reading every bit of it. And having finally turned the last page, I had figured out why this book is both highly recommended as well as painfully difficult to finish.This Book is very close to my heart.Though it is said to be author’s autobiography, most of the things in the book seem fiction.This epic, mesmerizing first novel set in the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Shantaram is narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear.
I recently watched the Netflix series Crown.The show doesn’t just look gorgeous, though. It is also compelling, well written, and well performed and well executed.It was as though I was reading a book.One of the characters I liked here is Winston Churchill, it seemed like such an interesting and powerful character.An autobiography of his, A Roving Commission: My Early Life, which is also mentioned in the show, kind of caught my attention.While I was looking up for this book in the library, I had a conversation with my supervisor, Walt, about the Author.It so happened that one of his friends is a very good reader of Winston Churchill and when my supervisor mentioned it to him he was so delighted and he sent me some recommendations too.How cool is that??
These are some books I just read, or reading now or read in the past that link to a person or some memories.These may not be my favorites, these may not be the best, But they remind of certain people in my life whom I am grateful for encouraging me directly or indirectly to read and read more.Just How I think authors should thank who inspired them to write, I think its just as important to thank people who inspired us to read.
Chances are, if you have read this blog post, then you enjoy reading.You tell me, Who inspired YOU to start reading? To keep reading?