It’s because of you, dad.
It’s year 1999, I’m with my mom and dad in a grocery store trying to plead them to buy a brush that I can play with. Idk why I thought it would be a good idea to play with a brush? But that’s just the 4 year old me. My dad is unamused with my tantrums and picked up a tiny pink book instead.
It’s a storybook and I don’t want it. I have had enough studying at school and I want to read no more. My dad ignore my plead and got me the book.
This is the one, the first book that I have ever owned. Yes, I have kept it safe with me to this date. I did not realise then that this book would mark the beginning of my ever long reading journey.
My dad has been an avid reader as long as I can remember. He always carried a book with him in his bag. If he’s waiting in a queue or travelling – he would waste no time and start reading. I found it intriguing because I saw him with a new book every week! I always wondered how did he read so fast.
As I was growing up, he always tried to instil the love of reading in me too. I think, he knew the power of books and as a father he wanted me to learn how he knew best – by reading.
So, whenever he got a book for himself, he got one for me too.
I got a lot of storybooks as a kid, MagicPot and Tinkle Comics -Ah! I was so obsessed with Tinkle. I also received encyclopedias about space and science which reaffirmed my choice to become an astronaut.
A few years later I was reading Roald Dahl and boy, I was hooked! I remember reading ‘The Big Friendly Giant (BFG)’ and it’s then I decided to turn into an avid reader, just like my dad. I realised the power of storytelling. It was not only enjoyable but I always felt like I learned something new. The BFG is still very much close to my heart – so when I saw it on the big screen many years later, I couldn’t help but cry a little – both out of joy and nostalgia.
I spent my teenage reading Meg Cabot. I completed the entire series of ‘Princess Diaries’ and loved the book ‘How To Be Popular’. I always saw myself in the eyes of the protagonist and learned empathy – and it’s only one of the key things that I learned reading. I was that one kid in school, who used to miss sports class to read one more chapter.
Soon, I finished all titles of Paulo Coelho (I still love all his books) before moving to explore other genres. I read self-help to business to biographies to classics and contemporary fiction.
Now, we have two readers in the house and our stack of read and unread books is only increasing.
My dad and I used to go to the bookstores on some weekends where we would hunt for new books to read. We still go, sometimes. This passion, paved way to have our own mini library at home – full of bookshelves for all our treasures to be kept safely.
This is one wall that I’m really proud of.
So, when people ask me – when did I start reading? or how did it all start? My only answer is that it wasn’t an overnight process. It was my dad, who made me fall in love with reading, one book at a time since I was four.
Also Read: An Open Letter To My Father
Want to know what I think of the books I read? : Read my book reviews
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