Over the years, that is from Classes 2 to even 10, which is considered a very landmark and critical year for a student, one can say that my graph of reading books has only gone up.

I could say that, I was averaging at least one book a month (across all genres) and could be somewhat called an avid reader.

However, that was about to change here.

Classes 11 and 12 (2007-09) were highly strenuous, though I can vouch for the fact that, I haven’t gone to the extremities to which my classmates tortured themselves in preparing themselves for the competitive exams by attending coaching classes and tuitions, I have to admit that, my focus towards activities other than academics was very limited.

And this was kind of self-inflicted because my parents haven’t exactly forced me into taking any sort of burden. They were pretty Ok with whatever I wanted to do with my career, even if it was preparing for the IITs or AIEEE or anything else I had an interest in pursuing.

And voluntarily, I reduced my reading habits and the major books that I read were those related to IIT preparations. I only remember reading The Alchemist in between.

Of course, these preparations weren’t easy and had a few self-doubts, even, you can say, kind of disillusioned. And, one can say, I begin to ask greater questions like, Who Am I? Why am I here? What exactly is the purpose of my life?

Self-Help books I relied during my Entrance preparations

And forced by habit, I once again relied on finding the answers in books.

Or rather, the books found me one day in a street side shop selling second-hand books while I was returning with my friend.

And two of the books were The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (whose work I followed until 2018 maybe) and Deepak Chopra’s The Book of Secrets.

Actually, The Secret had quite an uplifting effect on me back then and it in a way helped me regain my focus and maintain my sanity until the drama with the Boards and College admissions was over.

So, here again, I was left with abundant time between my admission into the college and the actual date of joining.

So, having not pursued any serious hobbies in the intervening time of Classes 11 and 12, I was naturally inclined to switch to reading books.

And this time, I went for two authors, one national and one international, who were making big waves and were quite a thing in my social circles. In fact, one of my friends had a collection of these two authors and I borrowed from him.

The first book I read was Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and was absolutely blown by the way the novel was written. Though I was sceptical about picking up such a huge novel as my comeback novel after a long time, the plot was so engrossing and was filled with enriching details that I completed it while staying awake all night; A feat I have previously done only for Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows.

Authors I read just after my Entrance Exams

And the Indian author I had read was Chethan Bhagat and read three of his books that were published until then. He was one author my mom begin to read (as she was transitioning to read English novelists), particularly because of the simplistic manners of his plot narration and storytelling.

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