By Nitisha Jain:
A best book equals a hundred good friends but a good friend equals a library: Dr APJ Abdul Kalam LIKE a true friend, a book always stays by our side. Books lift our spirits, inspire us, educate us, lift our spirits, help us solve problems, accompany us through our ups and downs and also celebrate with us. As we celebrate Friendship Day, “The Hitavada” delved into the unique bond we share with books in a conversation with Shirin Chimthanawala. The youngster is city president of “Pick A Book”, a platform that aims to instill reading habits and create a community of readers, a space where people can learn, grow and share. This voracious reader in her twenties finds books as amazing companions. “Books add meaning to everything we do in life.
They are there when we seek help or advice. They have a lot to offer. Just like a friend, each book adds flavor to our life and makes it enjoyable. We can be our true selves in the company of books,” says Shirin. So how did the arts grad partner with PAB? “I have read all my life. After college, I was looking for a reason to jump out of bed every morning. Then my friends introduced me to this amazing concept. Without a second thought, I seized the opportunity. The BAP started in Nagpur on April 3, 2020.” Emphasizing how reading shapes personality, Shirin adds, “For young people, reading creates a very strong foundation in terms of thinking. The books expose young minds to different parts of the world and authors from diverse backgrounds and cultures. It teaches children to show empathy, to understand different situations, enriches vocabulary, improves concentration. The words of wisdom learned today make the informed leaders of tomorrow. In the age of e-books and gadgets, does she feel that reader interest in physical books is waning? Shirin reacts, “I personally approve of physical books.
It’s an absolute personal choice. It is an investment in itself. We celebrate books. It’s a gift we can open again and again. Excessive use of gadgets affects our eyesight and increases our screen time. We should immerse ourselves and enjoy being lost in another world rather than being distracted by on-screen notifications. Shedding light on the format of the PAB, Shirin adds, “Weekly sessions mostly take place. We engage people through different ways of reading and exploring different topics. Members select a book, read it, research it and then submit a summary. As there is no language barrier, one can choose any book, read it and express one’s point of view. This in turn helps to hone the member’s public speaking and presentation skills, as well as establish effective communication. It’s not just about reading a book, but much more than that. Shirin, a life coaching consultant and creativity coach, believes that the elders in the family should make an effort to make new friends in the form of books. The children will follow. “We humans are multi-layered. Reading helps us understand different aspects of life in an enjoyable way. It helps us to be present in the moment and enjoy it. Don’t try to just finish the book. But gradually explore new facets and savor the nuances. With each word we immerse ourselves in it and the journey is magical. You only win with books, there is nothing to lose, ”says the young girl. not