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The best gift I got from our 'strange' home

I was Lucky to grow up in a home that had no electronic devices. We didn't have a computer or even a television set. I used to feel that our home was not ‘normal’ and was ‘strange’. 18 years later I realised that our home was extraordinary.

Today, I consider it my luck that I didn’t have access to electronic devices in an early age. Thanks to this, the time kids usually spend in playing SuperMario and watching Power Rangers, I spent it reading books and newspapers. Not because I was geeky, but simply because there was nothing else for me to do.

I loved Cricket but I had no means of watching any match live on TV. So I used to wait till the next day when I can read everything about the match in the newspaper. The way every match was described in the articles made me feel like I was there in the stadium. In an early age, I realised how reading can take you literally anywhere.

When I had exhausted everything in the sports section of the newspaper, I would flip the pages and read the captions of images. This made me understand different political and social issues at a time when my friends were busy discussing WWE wrestling matches.

When the newspaper couldn’t offer me anything more interesting, I started reading other books that I could lay my hands upon. I devoured comics, novels and many other books that I found. Unknown to my young self, my vocabulary grew rapidly and my English became better. Most importantly, I developed the patience of reading hundreds –even thousands- of pages.

Today, when I see people of my age who cannot extend their attention span more than a few minutes, I feel lucky. When I hear people saying that they cannot read more than a few pages, I feel lucky. I feel lucky because I got something many people seem to have missed. I am not saying this to belittle those people who can’t read or don’t want to read. Nor am I writing this to make myself appear better than them.

I am writing this to express the importance of reading. I am writing this to express how important it is that children are given a chance to discover books before they are exposed to technical devices, gadgets and mobile phones etc. Books are like chests of treasure that are out there in the open. Anyone can gain riches from them. As a person who has gained a lot from them (and still doing so) I feel very sorry for those who are unable to gain anything from them.

AZ Damudi

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I am an aspiring writer and an avid reader. I also have a keen interest in film making.