'Few interests give you as much knowledge as books do'

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It made me believe in hard work, because when you "really want something, the universe conspires to make it happen."



What book(s) are you reading right now?
Gandhi before India by Ramchandra Guha - it's the first part in a planned two-volume biography of Mahatma by the historian. Guha argues that Gandhi's early years in London and South Africa played a key role in shaping his future, and he does introduce some interesting pieces of information throughout the narrative. I can't wait for the second part in the biography to be released.

The book(s) that changed your life and shaped your outlook?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It made me believe in hard work, because when you "really want something, the universe conspires to make it happen." This is the core concept of the book, suggesting that a positive, existential approach to life is what helps us achieve our goals, more than fate or anything else.
There's also the aforementioned India after Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha, because it helped me understand why India is the way it is. And, finally, another book I think worth mentioning here is Maximum City by Suketu Mehta - because the book comprises fascinating details about Bombay, both as a city and an identity.
Which authors or titles can you pick up and read any time?
There are so many! William Dalrymple, Dan Brown, Sophie Kinsella, Paulo Coelho, Jhumpa Lahiri, PG Wodehouse, Elif Shafak, Rohinton Mistry, Louise Rennison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Sidney Sheldon and, of course, Ramchandra Guha are just some of my go-to authors.
Which books would you love to pass on to your children (or any young person) to read and treasure?
I think books by PG Wodehouse should be read by all children - especially the ones about Jeeves. They display a unique style of humour that no one should miss out on.
Would you say books are still relevant today? Why?
When you read, you are introduced to a world of imagination, where a story can unfold before your eyes in the way that you want it to. Your attention span increases, and you are exposed to a wider vocabulary, while also coming across a variety of writing styles. There is also a wonderful array of genres to choose from - from history and non-fiction to magical realism and philosophy. The list is almost endless. Few other interests give you as much knowledge as books do.


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