The idea of life being a book is an old one, and only points out the immense respect and value that books have commanded since times immemorial. If our lives are books, it must imply that books hold the secrets to decipher our lives. In this sentiment, we interviewed five people from varying backgrounds on the eve of #WorldBookDay and asked them to reveal which favourite book has altered their lives.
Name : Huzaifa Pandit
Profession : PhD scholar, English/Urdu Literature
The only book that can claim such importance in my life is Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s collection of Urdu poems – ‘Nuskha Hai-e-Wafa’. I read it when I was 21 in 2010, and immediately fell in love with the poems. I recall reading the ghazal – Every heart harbours a storm, Observe Love (Toofan ba dil hai har koi dildaar dekhna) and figuring it out, spoke to me about the troubled times we are living in. My translation of this ghazal marked the beginning of my career as a creative writer, in the course of which I quit a secure job, took a risk by joining college again and when I started my PhD, I knew I had to work on Faiz Ahmed Faiz. My journey towards being an academic and a creative writer started with this book.
Name : Rohit Karnatak
Profession : Graphic Designer
I wasn’t not really fond of reading until I started reading love stories by Indian writers like Chetan Bhagat and Ravindra Singh ( don’t laugh ) and then I stumbled upon this marvelous life changing book called ‘Om Puri: Unlikely Hero’ by Nandita C Puri. The book transformed something in me. It made me believe that if I strive hard, no hurdle, or shortcoming is big enough! I swear by that book. On days when I am feeling a little low, I go back to the book and feel instantly charged!
Name : Purbi Mallick
Profession : HR Professional
I am a huge ‘Harry Potter’ fan! It puts me on a ride of imagination to Hogwarts. These books aren’t just about one boy, it’s about other characters too and each one of them is so relatable. The characters in the book have distinctive traits that I could relate with my own life. Harry Potter series books were a part of my growing up years and so specially close to my heart.
Name : Pranav Patil
Profession : Student of M.A. Economics at University of Mannheim, Germany
It angers me to see how misplaced our priorities are! I am studying environmental economics in my Master’s course and it is painful to learn the unprecedented rate at which many species are going extinct on Earth, while some are moving deeper and deeper into the ocean due to acidification of water!
Elizabeth Kolbert’s book ‘An Unnatural; An Unprecedented – The sixth extinction: Unnatural History’, has shook me to the core! It’s a very timely and necessary intervention to draw attention to climate change. Ever since I have read the book I can’t help but think of the imminent danger of climate change and the need to urgently find sustainable ways to deal with it. The book has definitely shaped my future research orientation.
Name : Pallavi Desai
Profession : English Lecturer
Each book that I’ve read, have become an indelible part of my life.
The one that instantly comes to mind is called ‘The Shadow Lines‘ by Amitav Ghosh. It traces three generations of a family affected by the Partition of India. The novel traces the eerie shadow lines that chase the family years after the partition and after it has long been forgotten. The novel shifts from Dhaka to Calcutta to Kashmir to London and from the past to the present and then back into the past … from the physical to the sublime… all back and forth. It reminds one of the fact that one is just a tiny particle in this infinite cosmos.
The subject matter and the linguistic structure, the amalgamation of various themes and characters, the overall cohesion of the text, the play of time and place , the style of narration of The Shadow Lines is something that doesn’t stop amazing me.