The fun story of how my love for books gave me the worst experience of my life — and how I got over it.
I always thought being a reader would be the best gift I gave myself.
But there was this one disadvantage of reading I learned the hard way.
When I was younger, all my knowledge came from books. And that’s why, when I took part in speaking events at school, I used to pronounce several words wrong as I’d never heard them spoken aloud.
It didn’t hamper my life much. At least not until one fateful day that remains imprinted in my head like it happened yesterday.
Tongue-Tied On Stage
It was during an extempore speech competition at school.
My topic was “Zero.” I had a crazy good story in my head and was telling it with all my heart when a burst of laughter stopped me mid-sentence.
I’d used the word “panache,” but I pronounced it as “pana-chee.”
One person in the front row mouthed the real pronunciation of “panache,” and his friends joined in on the laughter.
I froze. My head went blank, and it’s as if I forgot how to speak. I stood there for a full minute, my legs quivering, the laughter still ringing around the auditorium, until the teacher asked the next participant to come on stage.
When I got down from the stage, my whole body was shaking with shame. It was one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life.
The Vow to Never Read Again — and its Aftermath
I went back home and vowed to watch more English movies like everyone else did, and stop reading books forever.
Of course, I couldn’t stick to that because my parents were strict about only one movie every Sunday, while I could read as many books as I’d like in a week.
Looking back, I feel grateful I didn’t let one failure shape my personality and make me stop reading. Everything I am today, all the beautiful things I’ve built around me has happened because I’m a reader.
I can tell stories because I read thousands of stories in books.
I can write because I’ve spent so many hours of my life reading.
I can speak fluently in English because of all the imaginary conversations I had with fictional characters growing up.
J.K. Rowling once said, “You can’t be a good writer without being a devoted reader.”
I totally agree with her. My life today won’t even be 10% as good as it is if I’d never read so many books as a child.
And that’s why, whenever someone asks me what’s my secret superpower (or my unfair advantage, whatever you call it), I always say it’s the BOOKS I’ve read!
What’s your secret superpower? Do you enjoy reading books? Let me know in the comments.
For more book reviews, follow me on Goodreads.