Reading minds

The Uncommon Reader (Aug 9) peered into the reading habits of Amartya Sen. Far from being a random list of authors and works that influenced the economist and Nobel laureate, the article highlights the power of reading as a strong foundation for future leaders.

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Published: Fri 16 Aug 2013, 10:50 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:26 PM

As the father of a three-year old, I find it interesting that Mr. Sen’s parents actively chose for him the right materials to read, in his early years. His story is a validation of how teaching kids to love books is an important aspect of parenting that should not be lost in today’s overflow of social 
media and work pressures. While not all kids surrounded by literary works will grow up to be Nobel laureates, parents should give them the chance to learn valuable life lessons better, as they flip through pages.

Also, it is important for today’s parents to oversee 
the reading materials their kids are exposed to. Digital e-books are just a click away; anyone capable of eloq-uently sugarcoating destructive ideas can publish his 
own e-books and articles online, ready to prey on our children’s young, malleable minds.

Enabling kids to love reading can be started simply and subtly, like reading them fairy tales at bedtime, and building on from these activities. While books may not offer solutions to all the hard lessons of life, through them we lay the foundations children will need to stand on, when they discover how tough it can be.

Congratulations, Christopher Aure, on your winning entry! We will be in touch with you shortly.


Let’s tweak the saying “Behind every successful man is a woman” to “Behind every successful person, there are books”. The Uncommon Reader (Aug 9) on Amartya Sen adds to that list.

I was fascinated by the variety of works — from Tagore, Bernard Shaw, and Shakespeare to Tolstoy — which shaped the thinking of this living legend. This article also highlights the role of acquaintances in changing one’s career, in the context of Amartya Sen switching to Economics from Physics under the influence of Sukhamoy Chakravarty. Sen’s thoughts on each writer and musician, highlighted as one liners under the eye-capturing 
collage of photographs in the article, made for great reading.

Music, films, books and personalities lay the foundation for our perspectives. So, let’s heighten our chances of greatness by befriending books!

Shivani Ramachandran, Dubai

Sky is the limit

The engaging profile of Shadi Kabbesh, Shooting Star (Aug 9), is commendable. Many writers indulge in platitudes and clichéd tales of sorrow while talking about such a sensitive subject; but in this instance, a refre-shing tone of independence and 
encouragement was used.

I’ve known people, who, when plagued with problems, have considered ending their lives. The underlying sentiment that linked them all was one of surrender; the wish to abandon a life unlived. When faced with the bleakness of life at its low points, we all need a source of motivation that illustrates the magnificent directions our lives can assume. This piece fulfills that role and is unique in its reliance on Shadi’s account, without trite editorialising. Philosophers, for centuries, have debated on the best way to live. Despite their conclusions, we universally acknowledge and honour the resourceful amongst us who emerge from hapless circumstances, to thrive and develop, with unparalleled willpower. Shadi, in this way, represents the best of us and I am appreciative 
of his story.

Vidhisha Nandkumar, by email

Shadi Kabbesh’s story reminded me of another young man, David Hartman in the US, who was diagnosed with permanent blindness at age 8. This young man defied all odds, and aspiring to become a doctor, finally did it, much to the surprise of his peers and family. “Everyone is handicapped in some way,” he said. “My blindness put my life into focus.”

This never-say-die attitude is of paramount importance to anyone who wishes for success in life. Shadi is 
so full of this attitude. The optimism shines through when he describes himself as “just another guy, but on wheels”. The fact that the spina bifida confining him to the wheelchair has not proved a deterrent to his day-to-day life is inspiration for all budding talents, from every walk of life.

Mohammed Ehab, Dubai


The photographs for the article Shooting Star (Aug 9, wknd.) were taken by Shoaib Anwer.

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