“You’re the average of the five people spend the most time with,” a quote famous from the motivational speaker Jim Rhon

Look around you and you will find them. Look around me you will find Books.

I have surrounded myself with the magical world of books ever since I learned to read.

They are not mere books, they are the people, places, events, motivation, inspiration and much needed company and respite for me. I have a soul connection with libraries ever since my childhood.

These are sacred places where people and ideas meet through the medium of books. They  influenced my thoughts and moulded and remoulded me like a soft dough. And they continue to do so waiting in libraries eager to share the fragrance of their soulful experiences of life through words. I always sneaked into a library to find that solace only a lover would know. If at all there is a soul mate they are books and music for me.

My first exposure to stories came from the school text books and school library.  I would read the Malayalam and English text books back to back as soon as I got them from the school book store.   While the Teacher was meticulously inducing  grammar lessons I would be rather immersed in the world of ‘’Indulekha’’ Malayalam supplementary text book. . I always kept one interesting book inside of another boring text book all the time. I just couldn’t take boredom, be it studies or life.  Well that made me a sort of ‘’backbencher’’ till my tenth standard. After that some magic happened to my grades. There was fun in solving problems, but there was the magical world of books too.

We Read To Know We Are Not Alone: C. S. Lewis
There were  the antics of my childhood sweethearts   Mayavi, Luttappi, Dakini , Kottoosan of Balarama comics.

There was this miserable vetal haunting the handsome king Vikram for answers.

There was the naughty twins Boban and Molly. There were so many more .

How can one be alone ?

Then there was the tall , dark and handsome hero of Mills and Boons . There was a poet only for kids Kunjunny Mashu who replied back to my letters from some far away  place.I still remember his one line blessing came on a post card. But I don’t remember what was the topic of my letter to him. May he spent a lot of time sending post card greetings and blessings to many unknown kids who wrote to him. Can we find another poet or person like him in this generation ? I wonder! Is there anyone willing to respond at a personal level to the queries or comments or demands of some unknown kid.?Do we take out even a fraction of our time to give some attention or unconditional love to strangers those who cross our paths.Let alone bless anyone.

As I grew my tastes changed and my books also grew along with me.

I laid my hands on Fritj Of Kapra’s Tao Of Physics , One Hundred Years Of Solitude By Gabriel Garcia Marquez, O . V. Vijayan’s Khasakkinte Ithihasam , M . Mukundan’s ‘’Mayyazhipuzhayude Theerangalil’’, Guru Nithya Chaithanya Yati’s articles . It was a shift to Philosophy . The childhood sweethearts took a back seat while my thoughts lingered on existential dilemmas. The quite fire in the writings of Kamala Das, the sadness of Sita , the surrender of Panchali all of them haunted my young mind. I don’t remember reading humour or laughing aloud during those days.

“Commit as many mistakes as possible, remembering only one thing: don’t commit the same mistake again. And you will be growing.” OSHO

Then many seasons came and went , I changed my reading habits again , still bordering on Philosophy. For a long time I read Osho after my marriage and coming to Pune. There was a shift from Philosophy to Spiritual . I indulged in a lot of spiritual reading. It was during this time I read Swamiji’s Blog on Speaking Tree . I have never stopped reading His Blogs once I started. Soon His first Book ‘’ If Truth Be Told : A Monk’s Memoir ”came. It was a masterpiece, which I read many times . All answers for my spiritual queries I received through Swamiji’s audios , books and blogs.

‘’ Discover Your Own Truth’’ OM SWAMI
Discovering self. My own truth is the path I am following at present.

Now kids grown up , my library also grew  to a beautiful and big collection. These days  I indulge in light reading. I learned to laugh aloud with books and almost everything. I read travelogues and sit on the magic carpet of books to land in many exquisite locations. I voraciously read cookery books. I read almost all books of Ruskin Bond . I found out I am greatly inspired by  Nature ,Autobiographies of great men and women  and beautiful Travelogues. For me  real life stories are so much more thrilling to the bone than fictions.  Yes , Life is thrilling full of adventures and discoveries.

I told my friend ‘’ I am making a list of ten feel good books from my library’’.

She asked   ‘’What is feel good ?’’ ‘’ feel good as in touch ?’’

‘’ Why not ?’’  I replied.

Feel good for me is something that touches you at some level, takes you for a long ride and leaves you changed   , makes you and the world around you a little more  happier and better place than before.

Here are a few random picks from my  library

Zen :The Art Of Simple Living  by Shunmyo Masuno

A Fistful Of Love : Wisdom And Humour From A Monk’s Bowl by Om Swami 

Julie And Julia  By Julie Powel

Mrs. Funnybones By Twinkle Khanna.

The Broker by John Grisham

Becoming  By Michelle Obama

The Book Of Faith : Navjot Gautam and Sadhvi Vrinda Om

Wings Of Fire : An Autobiography of A P J  Abudul Kalam By Arun Tiwari

The Shopaholic By Shophie Kinsella

The Best Thing About You is You By Anupam Kher

India On My Platter By Saransh Goila .

 Classic Ruskin Bond Vol1.

Waiting to hear about some feel good books from your library too.

Happy Reading !!!