The love of reading.
Even before I started school, I knew the alphabet by heart. I was dying to learn to read, for the cartoons in the newspapers to mean something.
I was taught small lines like Raja is a boy, Rani is a girl. They appeared throughout the textbook, teaching us various words and their spellings. I was on cloud nine. I could read. I could read is, the, for, and, but, also and other prepositions and conjunctions in the newspaper.
I graduated to comics in standard One. The first novel I read was a Famous Five – Five on a Hike together. Kids from other culture seemed cool. I kept on reading whateverI could find in the local comic library. One of my Dad’s friend’s mother gave me 2 carton full of books, and I was suddenly a busy bee – reading at the dining table, reading through my TV time and relenting only at bed time.
I had taken up other languages too – Gujrati and Marathi.
Now, I can’t say I am a voracious reader, but I am a better reader than most. The thrill of getting lost in a story’s locales, experiencing the characters’ dilemmas and almost shouting on them when they don’t do your bidding; is a different high.
I have been asked how do I read a book so fast, how do I understand words that are not from daily language – the answer is I don’t read the book fast, I am interested enough to go on flipping pages just as we go on watching an interesting soap episode after episode in binge watching. I still don’t grasp many words, but either I deduce their meaning or look them up when I have time. It’s not a big deal really, reading. It’s not a mystical hobby that only the intellectual pursue – it is the activity that turns one into a thinking mind. The more diverse stuff you read, the better.
Don’t think whether you are reading the right stuff or wasting your time over substandard writing. Case in point, this blog. Just read. Eventually, you will learn to differentiate and quit a bad book in time. But not till you spend years in pointless reading first.