I was encouraged to inculcate the reading habit from a very young age. Dad had an extensive library ranging from classics like Shakespeare to the contemporary authors like Sidney Sheldon and Jeffrey Archer. I go through different phases where I enjoy reading different kinds of books, right from the Amar Chitra Kathas to Deepak Chopra and James Hadley Chase. I feel every book has something unique and valuable to offer.
I like the privacy of the reading experience. Reading lets your imagination run wild – you can smell and taste and feel places and emotions as vividly as the author describes and also push it further on the whims of your own fantasy and imagination. This is unlike in a film, where everything is interpreted for you and presented on a platter.
I prefer experimenting and like to keep my mind open to different genres. Of course, I have no interest in how to become a millionaire and how to climb the success ladder kind of books – they bore me. I prefer fiction or biographies.
There is no lesson to be drawn. Books are not moral science teachings and should be enjoyed and understood uniquely. I dislike any book or author that preaches or talks with too much authority – that comes from a smugness that emanates from low wisdom.
“There is no amount of despair that an hour of reading does not relieve.” This is one of my favourite quotes. Reading is one of the finest ways to relax and remove you from the clutter of your own immediate world. Reading also helps as it is a brain vitamin – I recommend it to everybody.
There are different books that have impacted me greatly at different stages of my life. For example, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L Hay, Many Lives Many Masters by Dr Brian Weiss, etc. gave me spiritual insights I had not experienced or even thought of before. And of course, a book called Food Combining for Vegetarians by Dr Hay that helped me shed 12 kilos in two months a while ago.
These would be Roots – Alex Haley, Holocaust – Martin Gilbert, The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini, Self Made Man – Norah Vincent, Unaccustomed Earth – Jhumpa Lahiri, The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway, Living With the Devil – Stephen Batchelor, Phantoms in the Brain – V S Ramachandran, Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden, The Summer of Cool – Suchitra Krishnamoorthi, Drama Queen – Suchitra Krishnamoorthi. Yes, I have to mention my books because a part of me is still coming to grips with the fact that I have authored four books!