On any given day, you would find me with either a paperback or a kindle in my hand, I’m never without them. My favorite hangout places are a library or a bookstore and I’m usually reading 2-3 books at the same time. I’m not a nerd, I’m a reader!

Reading books is not rocket science, anyone can read, in fact, that’s one of the first things you learn growing up (apart from talking, eating and pooping). Reading is one of the simplest and cheapest hobbies that one can develop and yet becoming a reader is not something everyone can become. Reading is not a forced habit that you pickup to look cool, it’s a slow brewing coffee that takes its time to develop flavor and give you the pleasure that stimulates your brain and tinkles your intellect.

I read around 60-70 books a year, not because I have nothing better to do, but because I enjoy it so much that I make sure I take out time to do it. I run my own digital agency that takes up around 12 hours of my day. I’m a mother and a wife, so that’s a full time job in itself, and yet, I get time to read.

My journey of reading started since childhood. My parents were never very outgoing so we would spend a lot of time at home and the only way I could escape the confines of four walls was through words. My first fictional character crush was Nancy Drew, a young detective series and with her I explored a world beyond my home. I realized that with books, I can now travel everywhere without stepping out. After visiting one destination, I would crave for another adventure, the experience was so enthralling that each story left me wanting for more. It’s like when you are watching an interesting thriller series and you end up binge watching because it keeps you on the edge till the end.

My initial reading was all about detective fiction and children classics, but then I started reading mature books from one of the best authors like Fyodor Dostovesky, Haruki Murakami to even newbies like Amor Towles. These books opened up a whole new dimension of thinking for me, it helped me curate new emotions. 

My favorite author is Murakami and I’m often asked, why do I read his books because many people find them either boring or non-relatable. For me books are a form of art, it’s not about being good or bad, how you look at art is subjective. Almost all of Murakami’s books are based on magical realism, a genre that is tough to describe in words, it’s not fiction in a pure sense and yet it’s not sci-fi. It’s a parallel universe where your darkest and the best thoughts co-exist, where each character evolves and develops as the narrative progresses and the end is most of the time kept open for you to craft something of your own. 

I don’t read books all the time, I watch movies, I browse through YouTube, Instagram and their endless feed of mindless content which restricts my attention span to 2-3 minutes before switching to something else. The short-term dopamine rush of scrolling on a device is an elusive promise. It depletes rather than uplifts us. Our limbic brain – the part of the brain associated with our emotional and behavioral responses – remains trapped in a spiral of pleasure-seeking. Books are not like that, books help develop focus and boost the brain’s cognitive skills. 

As an employer, I always ask candidates, “what book are you reading right now?”. It’s not to judge their choice of authors or genre but to understand what kind of employee he/she will become – someone who can sit and work focused hours or someone who will get easily distracted.


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