Passing on the light…

Many people have been instrumental in my journey towards becoming a bibliomaniac. The habit of reading has been key to many of my experiences and I need to thank quite a few people for that. If it hadn’t been for them, I may never have known the joys of reading and the escape it provides!

So who are these people and why them? Well….

My grandfather was the first person in my life who influenced me to read. Most of my memories with him involve him either reading, talking about books, or making me read. He was a philosophy scholar with disciples, who had a day job at an oil refinery. He was like Superman basically now that I think of it! He worked tirelessly to translate the work done by Freud, Karl Marx, Nietzsche and many more into Marathi, so that their work isn’t lost to a whole audience. His way of making me read was to make me sit with a book, a dictionary, a diary and a pencil so that whenever I encountered an unknown word, I could look it up and write it down in my handy diary! During summer vacations, I would spend some hours of the day writing these words many times so that I retain them for future use. Increasing my vocabulary was that simple! Although at the time, I used to get annoyed with this exercise, I am thankful to him for it. Without him, I would not have known how to increase my vocabulary or use a dictionary! Or possibly be influenced to take up psychology.

Next is my mother! So being my grandfather’s daughter, she was obviously into reading and books. She was more of a fiction – lover. She had this way of reading out books to me that made the characters come alive! No one I know has ever been able to read books to anyone the way she does! When I was very young, there was never a boring moment if it was my mom, a book and I! She introduced me to bookstores and for that I am eternally grateful. When I was younger, we used to leave the bookstore with a huge pile of books to read. Nowadays, I am told to restrict myself to a couple! She was the one who helped me learn how to read and the pure unadulterated magic in it.

Childhood friends were the ones who helped me with my grammar without making me feel stupid or brain – dead. Somehow it was always interesting when they were teaching me and I could sit for hours with them learning and laughing. My next – door neighbour and my mother’s friend’s daughter were both voracious readers from before I knew them and they guided my reading early on. They would suggest books, I would read them and then we would have these long discussions over the same! Nothing seems to have changed on that front. I do the same with almost all my friends now!

My college English professor revived my love for reading during my college years with her style of teaching. Teachers really are so instrumental. She taught me to think critically and to not just accept the written word as is. Without her, I would just be a reader without assimilating, contemplating, analysing what I was reading. So muchos gracias Ma’am!

This list isn’t complete without mentioning my aunt who introduced me to Harry Potter! What can I say? She gave me her copy of The Chamber of Secrets and by the time I had finished the first chapter, I knew my life would never be the same again. Along the way, she recommended so many other books, but I barely remember any of the others!

There are many others who influence my reading and love for books now. Like someone I know who makes lovely bookmarks, which could possibly be every reader’s dream! Or a friend who shares my darkness. A friend who just shares this love with me and many more.

I hope I can pass this light on to at least one more person out there…

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