So, as I mentioned previously, things got better with respect to my reading habits in Class 5 for two of the previously mentioned reason and I was introduced to the World of foreign authors and writers.

So, from the miniature books, I gradually moved towards reading slightly bigger abridged versions of foreign authors and some of them included Ivanhoe, Around the World in Eighty Days, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. These were the books that I used to buy from the monthly budget that my mom managed to allocate for me.

Slightly better and more complex abridged version of Novels

Just that, the purchases weren’t monthly, but it used to be an annual affair when we used to visit Chennai to visit our hometown further South.

Back in the day, there were roadside shops that used to sell second-hand books near the Mambalam Railway Station and I used to look forward to visiting this store during our return journey so that I could buy books at a cheaper rate too.

Remember, I too wanted to fill my shelf with books? Jyoti Book Depot was a bit expensive for that purpose. So, apart from the books I brought annually, my school library too played a pivotal role in developing my reading habits.And two of the most prominent authors I used to regularly issue from the library were Enid Blyton and Carolyn Keene, which got me acquainted with the world of the Famous Five, Secret Seven and the iconic Nancy Drew. Apart from the above, there were other factors too that contributed to my reading habits.

Novels by Enid Blyton and Carolyn Keene

You remember I topped Class 4 in my section.

So, my class teacher in Class 5 wanted me to be not just the section topper this time but also the Class topper for both the sections combined. And I too was determined because, the Award for the Topper, called the General Proficiency Award was given to the topper of the Class, which means the student with the highest mark in a particular class combining all the sections. And I wanted this award because the prize money was valued at Rs 480. So, you can imagine that I could add 16 books to my collections (the miniature pocket-sized novels) and will still have about Rs100 to splurge on luxury gift items and stationeries if I wished to do so.

So, I definitely had the incentive to study well and score good marks and it kind of came naturally as well, as I wasn’t really cramming or over the top studious in that sense. I used to watch Shaka Laka Boom without fail and there were tons of other programs I used to watch regularly too. The fact that I never went to any tuition is a testimony to my not-so-over-the-top serious and studious nature and I had this unique distinction in my class of not attending tuition, as everyone else in my Class went for tuition for one or the other subjects, particularly Maths. Plus, the other reason that contributed to my reading was, well as I was performing well in academics, so it was natural for my Class teacher who was also my house teacher to push me towards participating in CCA activities and she gave my name for any and every event, be it Extempore, Elocution, Essay Writing and even Singing. I am sorry for the extreme inconvenience I caused everyone who had to go through the tormenting experience of listening to my voice. However, one good thing came out of my teacher pushing me into participating in these CCA activities. Well, this is other than the carrot of prize money dangling in front of me which I eventually was going to win and expand my collection of books.

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