I have this big bookshelf in my crib back in Doha, which literally contains all varieties of books ranging from messy comics to professional (and confusing) business books. My collection started when I was in like 1st grade or something, when my father first bought me 3 (maybe 4) large and heavy books, the ‘big book of knowledge’ kind of ones. One of them identified itself as the precise atlas of the world, but to me it was the heaviest and the bulkiest book I’ve taken in my whole life to date. It’s weight alone rounded to around three kilograms, and we left it back in India while we immigrated back to Qatar the same year.
(Never knew this book was in existence today, but it surprisingly is.)
Back then I had absolutely no idea on how books are supposed to work and all I could do was stare at the pictures it had in it. Just looking at the pictures gave me immense pleasure and I would do it straight for hours, just like how a baby loves to cry (lmao). My father was absolutely impressed at the sight of me “reading” those books, and just to kill the boredom around the house, he was like,”can I ask you a question from the book?”. I was totally frightened and started panicking. If my parents ever wanted to question me about anything, the day would end in torture for sure. I still have a solid memory that same year when my mom almost killed me for not solving a riddle from kalikkudukka ( a Malayalam kids monthly, which legends used to read). I still remember the background sound of my brother laughing. I cried for the rest of the day and swore never to touch kalikkudukka again.
Anyways, I told my father I did not start reading it yet, and am having a “warm up” exercise by starting to look at the pictures before I start reading it page by page (which I knew I won’t). My father ignored my statement and told me to start reading the book that moment itself. Back then, studying, learning and reading had the exact same meaning for me- byheart. I still remember me trying to by heart the first few lines of the first few pages, and my father was like,”you have been on that page for the past 10000000 hours. Are you even doing anything?” I explained to him what exactly I was doing, and he thought me what real reading was. To make a long story short, I quit reading whether it is about by hearting or not.
my attraction towards books started declining slowly, but in never reached the point of zero. I have this special attraction towards book covers and whenever I see a book with awesome covers, I would fall instantly in love with it (like any other kid down the block). The next time my father bought me books was when I was in third grade, in a bookstore in the metropolitan city of Cochin. I brought loads of books from there, all judged by its covers. The only book I chose by my true will was the diary of the wimpy kid. Whenever anyone brought that book to class, everyone would scream and fight over it. I never did, and when I saw this book at the store, I thought I would give it a try.
I read that book after consuming a time like 2 solid weeks (which was a pretty good time for a total beginner) and boy it was awesome. They also got this long check list at the end of the book stating things that you should do before you die. It had things like use a porta potty, ride a coaster etc. I checked everything on the list except one- read an entire book without any pictures in it. I knew it was an absolutely impossible task for a jerk like me to do. I left it unchecked as it is.
The holy book of the third graders
This was the only series of books I’ve read completely up to grade 6. After that I felt that this book is becoming a bit too childish for me. However I could not resist reading it up to grade 8. This is the book that inspired me to start writing stuff. I also maintained a neat diary like how ‘greg’ did, like drawing a picture for every paragraph. I would show it some of my friends, and some of them would flash it out to the public. I had a strong personal connection with the book, mainly due to two reasons: one, it made people laugh with the satirical comments in it and two, it was with me for 5 whole years. I officially quit that hobby at grade 9 after I had entered into blogging.
As going with the saying the entrepreneur shall always face rivalry (which is a fake saying invented by me two seconds ago), wimpy kid had to face this book called the dork diaries. It was exactly in the same format as the diary of the wimpy kid , except with the fact that the main character is a girl. I started reading it at grade 7 but I left it at grade 9 after I noticed that I’ve been using the words ‘oh my gosh’ and ‘awesome’ in the same Sentence. Honestly that book might be too relatable to your life and might hit your biggest insecurities. I must be the only boy in this whole wide world who have finished reading all the books in the dork diaries series.
In Qatar we have the international book festival which happens annually, usually December. My family never fails to visit it (or at least me and my father) and will make a huge purchase from there. I pick up books with great enthusiasm and my father pays with (over)enthusiasm, because he never knew that I’m not reading those books. I don’t know why I am doing this, but I loved doing it–buy books–fill the bookshelf–never touch it again for the rest of your life.
My father upgraded the tiny bookshelf in our crib to a large three rowed one, and it got filled up really quick. Cousins visiting my house would be all like ‘damn this kid must be smart as heck’ while in reality only I knew how dumb I was.
Another occasion where I can get books is the annual visit to India. I didn’t mind how busy my father was in his rush to build our house, I wouldn’t let him leave the country back to Qatar without ensuring he have bought at least a dozen books for me.
Also I remember a few months ago my cousin Najiz’s family brought me home a whole truck load of books for me and the other cousins and I made sure that I took the most of books (it was a real fun day for me and it ended with a cold in my body after all those dust in those books but it was totally worth it) some of the books dated back to the 80’s(literally!!) and I store it like diamonds in a jewelry box.
After a long day of studying, I was just poking stuff in the home when I approached my bookshelves. I thought I might just have a look at those books up there. Books brought 6 years ago still had the new book smell. I took a moment to count all the unread books up there.
543 unread books.
543 damned unread books.
Man the guilt I had that day was the worst I had in my whole life. I went back to bed, and exactly next week in madrasa, I saw my friend Raihan with a book. Chetan bhagat’s three mistakes of my life. Like taking a deep breath and diving, I opened its first pages and started reading it. I was totally immersed in it. That book must have been an inappropriate book for people of my age but I did not mind it, since it is the first time ever a book is keeping me involved for such a long period of time. I finished the book within two days and went back to the bookshelf again. God, I was going to dive into the worlds most irresistible pool of words for the first time in my life.
I noticed that I have an incredible reading speed, like 20-25 seconds per page, maybe lower. Within months I have read all possible genres of books like romance, classics , fiction , non-fiction, autobiographies etc.I couldn’t believe I have been ignoring this pool of worlds for the past half decade.
This year I’ve bought books written by chetan Bhagat (his books, even though inappropriate, are irresistible) , rick riordan, binyamin, arundhati roy etc.
Anyways, I walk myself to the bookshelf again, took out the the wimpy kid book and I checked the box which I never thought would get checked in my life ever.