I started reading at a very young age, I did not have too many friends in my school or class. I completely dived into books in my 4th or 5th class. It was my world, my escape; I loved reading. I used to frequent the school library. I would read after lunch, in fact I would spend the whole afternoon reading; even during holidays I was reading.
Running a library
My brother and I had a great collection of books since mother would encourage us to read. In our society we were the only ones who had the maximum books in our library. My brother and I ran a small library where we charged 25 paisa per book to our friends. My brother and I earned a little pocket money like Rs 2 or Rs 3 which was a lot those days.
I don’t recall which was the first book that I read but I have kept all my books — my Enid Blytons, Mad comics, TinTins, Asterix and Russian folktales. I can keep rereading The Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton led you into a magical world. Roald Dahl is also one of my favourites and so was Sidney Sheldon. A book I can keep reading is The Autobiography of A Yogi. It kind of changed my life... I worship that book.
I am a voracious reader, on my bookshelf or my bedside table you will always find four to five books at any given time, books which I have to read or am in the midst of reading. I finished reading Sapiens a while ago; it was an eye-opening book.
A lot of my author friends keep sending me books, so currently I am reading Ashwin Sanghvi. I have yet to start reading Raavan by Amish Tripathi. At the moment I am reading Stories of The Fearless by Shiv Aroor which is based on the true stories of our army men. I think it is a fantastic read.
I have books by Stephen Hawking; I may not be very much into physics but I love his theories so I try to absorb whatever I can. I have to read a book from start to finish because once I begin I am completely glued to it.
I read a lot of Mills and Boon books as a teenager, but I am not at all embarrassed by it because everyone likes to curl up with a hot cup of tea and a Mills and Boon novel on a rainy day. I can do it all over again if I can lay my hands on a good Mills and Boon book.
I love reading autobiographies — whether it is Hillary Clinton, Alfred Hitchcock or Nelson Mandela. I love Ken Follet as well.
My reading has to be varied and something that holds my interest. I have read a lot of Osho; loved Golden Nuggets by Osho. I enjoy reading Abdul Kalam and The Bhagwad Gita.
There are some books which are a must-have, like Sapiens, The Bhagwad Gita, Autobiography of a Yogi, a book on the Mossad (secret service of Israel) and yes, the fifth one can be my own autobiography!
Books over films
Well, I’d rather read a book than watch the film based on the book because a film cannot encompass all of the minute details present in the book. When I am reading a book it’s almost like a film running in my mind.
I recommend reading on the Kindle rather than buying books because we can save the trees. I encourage my children to download books too. I prefer EPrint now. I love the smell of a new book but to prevent deforestation one has to move to Kindle. I sip my early morning coffee while reading the newspaper. We get a whole load of Mumbai based newspapers; I feel it’s very important to keep abreast of what’s happening in the world.
I think reading books helps to write because I have written four to five concepts and stories which have have been approved by web platforms and are in production.
Reading kind of opens your mind up to a lot. It inspires you to think out of the box.