A person is known by the book he/she reads……..yes, so true, especially for someone who is addicted to books! A good book not only entertains us and gives us company; we can also acquire a vast amount of knowledge and life skills from it. Here Saptarshi Chowdhury, a self-confessed bibliophile, discusses about the books which he read during his formative years and acknowledges the contribution of those books in shaping up his persona.
I have always been fascinated by the concept of books; be it fiction, non-fiction, autobiographical, biographical, educational, or even books from the comic section. Like every other pre-adolescent kid, I was introduced to the world of books at an early age, devoid of electronic devices to chew up my attention span. Anant Pai, or as he is fondly known in the Indian Comic Book scenario as Uncle Pai, was responsible for inducting me into this heavenly habit of reading. Stories of Birbal, Stories of Shiva, The Sons of Rama: Luv and Kush, Hanuman, Stories from the Jatakas; all of these have taken long strolls through my memory cells, and I am proud to say that I have been a dedicated ‘fan’ of Amar Chitra Katha.
By now, you all must be wondering:
What kind of a reader is he claiming to be if he hasn’t read the Tinkle Comics by Uncle Pai?
Well, I have not just read them; I have lived them, each and every day of my pre-pubescent, teenage years.
I have lived through the pages of Tinkle Comics and laughed alongside Shikari Shambhu, Tantri the Mantri, Suppandi, Kalia, Pyarelal. I have walked down every page of Tinkle Double Digest and have not been disappointed or lost even a single time. I have experienced Uncle Pai as an Editor and watched Rajani Thindiath Ma’am grow as one.
But, like every other teenager, I had to move over Tinkle even though I sincerely didn’t want to. And thus, after Tinkle, or rather at times even simultaneously with it, I was introduced to the world of Hogwarts. When I say this, I not just represent the entire community of Potter heads, but also represent that part of the readers’ world that Joanne Rowling, aka, J.K. Rowling, has managed to enlighten throughout decades and continues to do so. I can, very contemptuously say, that I am ‘solemnly up to good’ when I say that, before humans, I was friends with three fictional characters, namely, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Harry Potter. I have, not just read Harry Potter books; I have walked through them, and experienced enlightenment right from The Philosopher’s Stone, to The Deathly Hallows. Yes, I won’t deny that The Cursed Child was a bit disappointing but being the voracious reader that I claim myself to be very shamelessly, I loved reading and experiencing it as well.
Alongside Rowling’s Harry Potter, I was introduced to another book series, one which is stranger to no bibliophile and as renowned as Rowling’ work if not more. Indeed, I am talking about ‘Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Be it ‘A Study in Scarlet’ or ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’, each story of this ground-breaking work brings with itself a touch of masterpiece, and that was more than enough for me to fall in love with it. Even today, I read it audaciously, and awe at the mastery of the duo living in 221 B, Baker Street.
The age, 13 to 19, is very tricky, not because teenagers end up either miserable or not miserable with nothing in between. This age introduced me to the fantasy pentalogy ‘Percy Jackson & the Olympians’ by Rick Riordan, insane mystery adventures of ‘Robert Langdon’ by Dan Brown, astounding ‘Adventures of Feluda’ by Satyajit Ray; and a few more. Agatha Christie’s works continue to inspire me till date and not to forget, JaneAusten’s works have made me a better human being, and I continue to be inspired by her till date.
One writer whom I haven’t mentioned here is Enid Blyton, but the uncountable memories I hold with her writing cannot be finished in a single write-up, to be very honest and humble. All of these writers have shaped me into who I am today, and each of their unique writing mannerism has contributed to my growth as a book reader.
Now, you might wonder the reason of why I dedicated entire paragraphs to few works and skipped the rest. To that, this is just one part of explaining my journey so far as a bibliophile, and trust me, the road ahead gets more interesting!
To be continued
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Presently pursuing his under graduation in Statistics from St. Xavier's College (Autonomous), Kolkata, Saptarshi has equal affinity towards both literature and data, the reason why he believes that both go very beautifully hand in hand.