I believe it is a sin to put a good book down. Try as I might, once I am hooked, I cannot. I do not remember when it was exactly that I got into the reading habit, and like they say, some habits are really hard to shake off. I remember starting out with Enid Blyton novels. For a long time, I thought the author was Gnid Blyton, because the font looked like a G! For a longer time, I thought Enid Blyton was a man. I had pretty soon exhausted all the Famous Five and Secret Seven series in the school library and I moved to the St.Claire's and Malory Towers series. I do not know how many will agree with me, but these simple tales of hostel life is the best series I have ever read. It created a huge longing in me to live in a hostel. In fact, these books made me feel like I was in one of the schools, an on-looker at times, a character at times - judging the situations, enacting the characters in my mind and enjoying the read thoroughly. I remember that in Class 7, me and a lot of my friends were hooked onto these series, and our class teacher Aruna Maruthi once saw the book with one of us. While we were studying in the free periods, she took our book and read it and came back to us and said that one can never outgrow books such as these!
And slowly, my reading habits took a mature shift when I started reading Dickens, Jane Austen and the like. I remember being thrilled out of my wits when I read A Journey To The Center Of The Earth. I remember vividly imagining The Secret Garden, probably the most I have imagined for any book. I remember being so happy that Fogg did actually go Around The World In 80 Days.
And further, I started reading the usual Sidney Sheldon, Arthur Hailey, John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark, Wilbur Smith novels and so many more of the like. I also got hooked to Harry Potter, after being dragged to the movie with my cousins. I remember that in 2nd PU, I would wait to get back home from college and tuitions to just stay up all night and finish the new Harry Potter novel. I remember how I read Harry Potter after my first year Engg exams, but before the Mechanical Lab exam, and how I nearly flunked it because I could not get myself to read any theory for the viva, being hooked to Harry Potter. I also remember yelling at so many of my friends who told me who dies in the new book.
I have had many many sleepless nights, reading a novel which was un-put-down-able! I have many times nodded absently to what my Mom was saying, being engrossed in my novels. I have many a times sat in Sankey, enjoying a silent read with the perfect ambiance. I used to finish books so fast and return them to the library that Librarian uncle (a fellow bookworm) used to be so happy that he would only charge half the rate for the book :) Nothing ever transforms me to another world as easily as a good book.
I am sure a lot of you are similar bookworms, with similar experiences and reading has been an integral part of your growing up. What saddens me the most is that this generation kids are more and more attracted to video games and the reading habit, evidently, has been going down. While the graphics of the video games are extremely cool and everything, it still cannot replace the power of a book - a book that can make you think, imagine and grow. With this trend, naturally, book-sellers are having a hard time running their businesses. I know I speak for a lot of you when I say I love the smell of a book, old or new, and entering a bookstore is like paradise for me. Although I have never bought books at this particular bookstore, I do know the sentiments when I make this plea. On the request of my friend Sharath, who got into the habit of reading only thanks to this bookstore, I make this plea to everyone to go buy books from Bookworm - a store in Shringar Complex, MG Road, Bangalore which is also facing the effects of the dwindle of bookworms. After all, only one bookworm can help another!!