I cherish my engaging hobbies. My hobbies help me keep myself fresh and energetic. Reading a wide range of books is something I always love. Solving and resolving different puzzle cubes helps me to concentrate. Its always a wonderful experience when I go for occasional horse riding sessions.
About My Hobbies
From my childhood I always used to enjoy building blocks, visualizing something and construct. Soon in my primary classes I could solve a 3*3 Rubik’s Cube. From then on I enjoy different Rubik’s Cubes, follow some interesting session in Youtube. I can solve 15 different types of cubes including Dodecahedron shaped Megaminx, Metamorphix, Pyramix, 7*7, Ghost Cube, Mirror cube, Square 1 and many more. When I take ‘Sparkle’ classes during weekends with children or play with boys at Karunamoyee Ashram, often I show them how to solve various puzzle cubes. In my everyday routine, solving Rubik’s Cubes is an integral part. Cubes are always with me, along with my studies.
‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies’. Through the myriad stories that they take us through, i believe books can take us to any corner of the world or our imagination. I keep reading books across varied subjects, genres, and temperament. I believe my thought process is built with inputs of different ideologies, creativity and fulfillment from each book I read. My bond with books started with Enid Blyton, Geronimo Stilton and Ruskin Bond. Famous five series used to be my favorite during the early days.
I got introduced to the world of Harry Potter in my 6th grade. I was awed by the whole new world JK Rowling had created with all the interesting characters. Since then I have remained an ardent Potterhead! I read whole of Percy Jackson & The Olympians series by Richard Russell Riordan. The series revolves around a teenager named Percy Jackson who discovers that he is a demigod, son of the Greek God Poseidon. His adventures are endless and a fun read! I also got introduced to books written by Satyajit Roy. How ‘Feluda’ handles each case and does logical deduction is stimulating read for me.
In high school, I indulged myself in fictional series, one after the other. The Lord of the Rings is an epic high-fantasy novel by English author and scholar J. R. R. Tolkien. Set in Middle-earth, intended to be the Earth at some time in the distant past, the story began as a sequel to Tolkien’s 1937 children’s book The Hobbit, but eventually developed into a much larger work. The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels by British author C. S. Lewis. The series is set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts and talking animals. It narrates the adventures of various children who play central roles in the unfolding history of the Narnian world.
The Hunger Games is a series of young adult dystopian novels written by American author Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games universe is a dystopia set in Panem, a North American country consisting of the wealthy Capitol and 13 districts in varying states of poverty. Every year, children from the first 12 districts are selected via lottery to participate in a compulsory televised battle royal death match called The Hunger Games. Exploring these series and reading through dystopian world is a intriguing. We have most of these books at our own home library. My elder sister and I even had started a library initiative for our friends in the community who could lend books to read.
Divergent is the debut novel of Veronica Roth. In particular, the novel explores the themes common to young adult fiction, such as adult authority and the transition from childhood to maturity, as well as such broader motifs as the place of violence and social structures within a post-apocalyptic society. Eragon is the first book in The Inheritance Cycle by writer Christopher Paolini. The book tells the story of a farm boy named Eragon, who finds a mysterious stone in the mountains. The stone is revealed to be a dragon egg, and a dragon whom he later names Saphira hatches from it. And, a entire new world starts. Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles is a New York Times–bestselling series of young adult novels that reimagine classic fairytales in a futuristic world where humans, androids, and cyborgs coexist. In the first book, a teenage cyborg named Cinder deals with her wicked step-mother, finds love, and discovers secrets about herself.
Eventually I started Dan Brown series of books. Daniel Gerhard Brown is an author best known for his thriller novels, including the Robert Langdon novels Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, Inferno, and Origin. His novels are like treasure hunts which usually take place over a period of 24 hours. I remember my father was reading ‘The Last symbol’ and was discussing at home. I became curious and started with the same book and then finished most of the books of Dan Brown series. To me the best books are those where the author succeeds to make the characters live and true. Contexts in these books are so pragmatic and interesting. Reading is a source of thought provocation, new ideas and experiences .
My parents are strongly influenced by Bengali literature. From childhood I have been hearing varied stories, snippets and poems. It is particularly impossible to grow up in a Bengali household without being influenced by Rabindranath Tagore who is reverently called ‘Kobiguru’. I was taught reciting poems written by Tagore as well as singing songs written by him. I loved them. Stories about India , it’s culture and mythology have given me a sense of belonging. The Shiva trilogy by Amish Tripathi; Jaya and Sita by Devdutt Pattnaik are a few books which really fascinated me with the sheer detail, research and wit . I live in Kolkata, which is very famous for hosting one of the largest bookfair of the world. It is held every year in Kolkata in the winter months of January-February. Thousands visit the fair each day during the fair days to get hands on their favorite books. My sister and I used to make our respective lists of books to be explored and bought in the bookfair. Every year I wait for this opportunity.
During my early teen years, I also enjoyed science fictions like Star Wars, Star Trek. The stories and ideas of the Start Wars trilogy were all written by George Lucas. Star Trek was created by American writer and producer Gene Roddenberry and chronicles the exploits of the crew of the starship USS Enterprise, whose five-year mission is to explore space and, as stated in the title sequence, “to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before”.
Though it’s a hard choice to pick one between the characters created by Agatha Christie And Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I preferred to pick Sherlock Holmes as my favorite detective. When I read unbridged version of complete Sherlocks Homes series, I used to be so engrossed with the context, story line and amazed by authors thoughts.
When pandemic hit the world and all of us were locked at home. That is another time when I was introduced to a complete new world of books from Japan, China, Korea. These books are available online and have massive fanbase. But most interesting of these books are about their new ideologies, new horizons and complete different thought process. Those are the things I like and get immersed into. These books help me to question my thoughts, and I feel sometimes even help shape my vision and trigger my creativity.
Overgeared, a Chinese novel; The basis of this novel is a virtual reality game called Satisfy, developed by the world’s top genius scientist Lim Cheolho and other world-class scientists. Its such a simple context and protagonist is a normal boy and how virtual reality character plays in this book is something I liked very much. My interest in AI, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality had grown further after reading this book.
Japanese Manga– comics which are written in such an innovative way that you just can’t miss completing a series once you started reading. If a series is popular enough, its chapters are then collected and published into volumes called tankōbon volumes. There are horror manga, fantasy manga, and romance manga. Also I read Korean Manga, novels, which are amazing. I like the minute details and description, imagination and complete new universe they create.
In these eastern world literatures protagonist is not always ideal; he does not have a super power; rather it’s a journey of simple normal being and sometimes even a villainous character whom around the story evolves. Another Chinese book I liked very much is Maste of gu. It’s a story of a villain, Fang Yuan who was reborn 500 years into the past with the ‘ChunQiu Cicada’ he painstakingly refined. With his profound wisdom, battle and life experiences, he seeks to overcome his foes with skill and wit! Ruthless and amoral, he has no need to hold back as he pursues his ultimate goals. In a world of cruelty where one cultivates using Gu – magical creatures of the world – Fang Yuan must rise up above all with his own power. This book is banned in China due to different reason but I liked the way its written and concept.
I am currently reading Deathnote, a Japanese novel. Though its grim and sometimes depressing but I like a complete different scenario of how protagonist thinks and works. Its about when a Japanese high schooler comes into possession of a mystical notebook, he finds he has the power to kill anybody whose name he enters in it.
These online books have helped me build a community of booklovers with similar interests. These books generally release a chapter a day and we wait and discuss it eagerly in these clubs.
Books have always been my escape, my stimulation for imagination, my safe space.
Horse riding near to Ganges in the early mornings during weekends, at Calcutta Polo Club used to be my craze. The Calcutta Polo Club, the oldest Polo club in the world, has so much to share with today’s generation about this ‘Game of Kings’ and its glorious tradition of riding skills, camaraderie and character building. Polo teaches us all that and much more. Besides being a healthy exercise, polo instils in players the habit of playing and performing selflessly and acquiring skills of quick decision-making that are universal attributes of great leaders.
In the early mornings getting ready with attire, specially with Jods and helmet and going for practice was a fun. Horses had interesting names, my favorite was ‘Saif Ali’. There used to be a horse trainer, who guided me, taught me how to understand a horse, how to greet them, behave gracefully with horse. It’s a confident and top of the world feel when I ride my horse.