Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Rant: What Reading has done for me

I have always been a reader. When I was a kid it was books by Enid Blyton and now that I am older I still read her books along with a few other. Reading has always given me a sense of peace. My parents encouraged me to read when I was young.

I was not a child that enjoyed playing with dolls or playing house. I tended to only be friends with people that I had known for a long period of time as I did not make friends very easily (that is not entirely true today). I was never completely at home with the friends I made at school. I think they felt it too and I wasn't necessarily close to anyone in school. I don’t mean I don’t have any friends from school, I still keep in contact with quite a few of them, but none of them were my “Best Friend”. There was no one that I could really open up to. This is where reading helped me the most. I mean improving my vocabulary and giving me confidence in the language is all well and good but it also gave me the ability to create worlds in my head where I didn't feel as awkward, where even my awkwardness was a prized quality.

I do not remember the first book I read. But I think I can tell when my love for stories, which later extended to love for books, began. When I was young, maybe 3 years old or so, I remember my mother sitting me down and teaching me Shlokas (religious poems) and telling me their meanings. She also used to tell me and my sister a few years later, stories from the Mahabharatha and Ramayana. The stories were so rich with characters and the world full of great heroes and villains that I fell in love with it.

I guess I gradually went on to read fairy tales and other children’s books like the ones by Enid Blyton and Franklin W. Dixon. I read of kids my age, who were not unlike me, that went on adventures. I mean who wouldn't want to have a Magic tree in the backyard that was inhabited by wonderful creatures or find lost treasure and catch bad guys? I used to put myself in the same situation that my favorite characters were in, not as the characters but as one of their friends.

As time went on I read more books. I discovered Lord of the Rings, one of my favorite series of all time. I also fell in love with Harry Potter. I have never restricted myself to a genre. I've read Horror (mostly Dean Koontz and Stephen King books), Sci-Fi (Asimov, Clarke etc.), romance (Julia Garwood), Thrillers (Patterson, Deaver), Crime (Agatha Christie) and many more. Each book egged on my growing imagination. When I get bored I just go into a world that I had read about or even mix them up. I make up different scenarios in my head where characters from different books meet.
This love for reading that seemed like something that made me an outsider among people suddenly became something that I shared as something in common in college. I met a friend who loved reading as much as I did, though she was not necessarily someone who would fangirl. But suddenly I had someone to talk to about books. And this made reading all the more precious to me.

By the time I passed out of college and got a job I had discovered different mediums on the internet through which I could express my love for reading and also meet and interact with people that share the same interests as me. I got introduced to Booktube on YouTube, blogs and Bookstagram on Instagram. I have made great friends especially through Instagram and have finally connected (online) to people in the same country and even city as me. We might actually plan on getting together sometime soon.

This is what reading has done for me. It has given me a great imagination, albeit a weird one, great friends – in real life and otherwise and it hss also made me write, which I am not that great at but if the protagonists of books have taught me anything, it is to never give up.

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