Reading, a habit to cultivate

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batori.inThose memories are still fresh in my mind, when I used to be studying for a class 7th, 8th or 9th examination. It was dreadful affair. And when it came to class 10th, the boards, it was a different thing all together.

Studying meant reading. After reading came understanding the concept. If understanding works, then was memorising it. It was too long a process and the best way was to learn it by rote. History was a subject I just couldn’t come to terms with. Memorising names of the emperors and dates of various events was like learning the contents of a yellow pages book. It took me a while to enjoy history like a story, just like it is depicted in famous films like Ben- Hur, Troy or Bahubali.

The word ‘read’ brings about different emotions in people. Some think it’s a waste of time. Some feel it’s a painful task so why even give it a try. While the others just are indifferent to the concept.

It amazes me when people say, “I cannot sit with a book for 30 minutes”. But they can watch television shows like Big Boss and Splitsvilla which are for 60 minutes.

Understanding that reading is a habit is very critical. Cultivation of new habits requires a lot of patience and mental strength, just like going to a gymnasium or learning a new musical instrument.

As a kid I enjoyed reading a variety of books from comics, novels, to the young scientist or child craft series. Selecting easy content to read is important. Picking up a Leo Tolstoy or an Anton Chekov won’t be a good idea at the beginning itself. A book that doesn’t tax your brains and one that you can complete would be a smarter option.

A school principal of mine, Mr Nanjunda, always said that what you read defines your ideas and thoughts. The quality of content, be it a book or a magazine, is very important. To identify good and bad content is the key differentiator.

Looking at the statistics of people reading, the graph is on a decline. Reading has reduced to memes, social networking messages or some quotes. Reading isn’t considered as ‘cool’ as going to the cinemas or spending time in a pub. Well, I couldn’t find a more inspiring reason to cultivate this so-called boring habit. ‘Do it, because others aren’t‘

If you do not understand what you read, don’t worry. Sometimes trying to understand each and every word can be frustrating. Remember the History books I mentioned about earlier. Every book has its own style of reading. A novel can be quick read, a study material needs to be well understood and a magazine just has to be skimmed through. If you don’t understand something, you can revisit it anytime.

I’m sure there are many books that are titled ‘How to read’. There’s no how to read. It’s just read.

Let me tell you why I like to read. It’s quite simple and easy.

Reading takes me to a world away from the realities of life. In the reading universe, I meet a lot of characters, situations, drama and suspense. I get an opportunity to travel across the world and visit various places. There is magic to life.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin

A wise man once said about reading, “How much can you learn from your parents, friends, teachers or the people we meet in our day to day lives. They have limited knowledge based on their experience and circumstances. To gain the wisdom of great minds, reading about them and their works is very crucial.

There is much training available to improve on public speaking skills and leadership skills, but unfortunately we aren’t trained to read. We are trained to learn without thinking, only to write examinations.

Couple reading with your daily activities and you’ll be surprised by end of this year how many books you would’ve read. You would’ve cultivated a reading habit this 2016.

Happy reading.


About Deepak Mohan

Deepak is a Bangalore based freelance writer.

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