The Story of me: How I cultivated the habit of book reading?

To me, reading books meant only reading text books or the books prescribed by the school. In my school days, my biggest target was to finish a text book at least once. I was in that race against book year after year. Sadly, I could never achieve and it remained a distant dream. I had always related my average marks to the fact that I was incapable of reading an entire text book at least once.

I was in my 9th Standard, and my class teacher arrived with bundles and bundles of 10th standard books. School peon stacked the books neatly near the wall below the black board. I always love that feel of receiving new books, the fresh page and that smell. Ahh!!!

Next, my class teacher instructed the class representatives to distribute the books. First, I received physics book which was relatively thin and felt like a normal book as I have seen so far in my life. Then came the Chemistry book similar to Physics book in size. I was happy until I noticed the word “Part – I” in the title.

“The concept of Part I and II was introduced in my books before I was introduced to Singam I and II”

Before I know, there it was Chemistry part II which is the size of all the pages I have read till that point of my life put together. It was intimidating. Then came the much dreaded Maths book. It was the combined size of both Chemistry books listed with full of problems as though we don’t have enough already. It was a miserable situation. Just before I lost my heart, came the savior, Botany book. It was so thin; it can easily pass as a supplement book. I was very happy. I even dreamed of getting centum in Botany the moment I saw that book. I kept all the books aside. I can sense the victory near. Finally, I can read a complete book in my life. I was not able to hold the excitement, so I opened and started reading. I crossed the first page, that’s when it dawned on me that I am dreaming and about to sleep in class.

That is when it occurred to me; I cannot read a book no matter what the size is ever. I was content with it until this incident happened.

In my Engineering, One day my HOD was finishing her last lecture just before holidays. She gave a pep talk and asked all students to cultivate the habit of book reading to be successful in life. At that point, she gave a simple tip which I didn’t know was going to change my life. It was simple, she suggested keeping a book of our interest in our backpack all the time regardless of whether we read it or not. I was thinking, we did that for the past 12 years. We didn’t have one but 12 different books all the time hauling between home and school and still couldn’t do. So, I was skeptical about it.

That evening, while I was packing my things to go home for holidays, I saw a book called “The Name is Rajinikanth” lying on my shelf. Without much thought I grabbed and put it inside my backpack and left for home.

I forgot about the book and enjoyed my holiday at my native. After few days, I found myself bored watching and counting the birds on the coconut trees lying in a wooden cot woven with ropes. Suddenly I was reminded of the book in my bag. I grabbed my bag picked the book and started reading. Being a huge Rajini Fan, I was more captivated by the information the book was offering. Before I realize, I finished reading that 290 pages mammoth biography. I was on cloud nine at that point. It took 2 days for that to sink under my skin. If I hadn’t kept the book in my bag, I would not have got that opportunity.

After that, I started reading all Chetan Bhagat Novels, Five Point Someone, One Night at the Call center, three mistakes of my life etc.

I was in my Final year. I had to give entrance exam in Pune for my MBA. There I was sitting in Erode Junction terrified by thoughts of being alone, not knowing Hindi or Marathi. All the worst things happened to a person in tamil cinema were on a continuous relay in my mind. To avoid speaking to strangers, I took the new book that I kept in my backpack – 2 States by Chetan Bhagat and started reading. By the time I reached Maharashtra, I savoured the entire story. It’s unbelievable, by seeing the commitment I had on that book. A family which was travelling along bought the book from me.

People who read the book know what kept me going.

I was in a class room sitting in front of 2 professors to give my final interview after clearing written exam and Group discussion. After the universal – Tell me about yourself question. They asked me, what are my hobbies? To sound shrewd, I said “Reading books”. My mind voice was - you hardly read 10 books in your life and you pretend as a voracious reader. The professors probably heard my mind voice. Without believing me, they enquired about the last book I read and told me to explain the story. The story was so fresh in my mind, I told them the story in detail.

Bang! I got a seat in one of the most elite institutions of India to do construction management which gave me a head start to my career.

In hindsight, everything from my attempt with Botany book to my HOD’s advice to the novel 2 states really structured my journey to begin reading books. Book reading has given me an advantage at every stage of my life, be it my PG Admission, my initial work days or networking.

still follow my HOD’s advice - keeping a book with me always. Thanks to Tech, now I keep all my books in my kindle app.

Every time I finish a good book, I would have lived a life of that character or would have had a chat with the most knowledgeable mind on the subject. That’s a fabulous feeling. I wish everyone to have that in their life.

It’s not difficult, on average a good book will have approx. 300 pages, ten pages per day is enough to finish a book per month.