Ever since I can remember, I have been a lover of stories. As a child, it was in the form of oral stories by my grandparents and parents. As I learnt to read, I devoured tales by Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimm brothers. In grade one, I bought my very first Enid Blyton book, Stories for you. I was hooked. Blyton took me on adventures to faraway lands, escapades with toys and brownies, goblins and golliwogs. She taught me how to solve mysteries and about friendships and boarding school. My nose was perpetually buried in a book, be it on the school bus or at a dinner party.
A love for reading morphed into a love to write. I penned poems and stories through school in my spare time. I kept most of my work secret but I continued to create characters I wanted to be. Strong girls, fighting the norm. Or poems of lands I wanted to visit. I yearned to become a writer thanks to my love of books.
As I commenced university with the goal of becoming a journalist, I took on English literature as a subject. Unfortunately at the time, psychology was more interesting that literature. As I pushed myself for two years with English lit, I found I lost my love for reading and writing. Freud was far more interesting than Dickens, psychopathology was more intriguing than Eliot. Perhaps it was the teaching style or maybe, the forced need to analyse every single sentence or word we read, but learning English literature completely put me off reading for pleasure.
The books on my shelves went untouched. The pages occasionally cried out to me but I didn’t offer a second glance. Reading frustrated me. The voices of lecturers burned through my brain leaving no room for words other than what was on the curriculum. Gone was imagination. Everything was about analysis and deeper meanings.
Towards the end of my second year, I was introduced to Harry Potter by a friend. ‘You might like it,’ she said. I was sceptical. I borrowed her book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone. And just like that, it came back to me. I was drawn into a world different from my own. I met characters I befriended and others I loathed. I squirmed when I read about Voldermort. I longed for a wand of my own. I wondered which house I’d be in had I been at Hogwarts.
Within weeks, I sped through books two and three, the third being my favourite. I decided then, to buy the three books and the fourth whilst eagerly waiting the release of the fifth. Just like that, I was hooked again. I realised how much I’d missed reading. I’d missed being part of different worlds and making new friends. I missed crying and laughing with characters. I missed beautiful writing.
Till date, I deeply cherish my Harry Potter collection. I continue to thank Rowling for reigniting my love for reading. While my bookshelf sags with books to-be-read, it reassures me that my love for reading, and consequently writing, is well and truly alive.
(c) Sanch V @ Sanch Writes (31 July 2016)
This has been written as part of the Cherished Blogfest 2016. Incidentally, it’s also Harry Potter and J. K. Rowling’s birthdays today.