What do I want to become when I grow up?

We all have fantasies of what we want to be when we grow up, and these fantasies keep on twisting, turning and shaping into different things till you finally hold on to one idea and start work

Published: 04th March 2012 10:59 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:28 PM   |  A+A-

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Jonathan Stroud: Author of the Bartimaeus Trilogy | EPS

We all have fantasies of what we want to be when we grow up, and these fantasies keep on twisting, turning and shaping into different things till you finally hold on to one idea and start working on it. Looking back, the books I read greatly influenced what and where I wanted to be in various stages of

my life.

The first novel I read was The Famous Five and the Smugglers Cove. There started my fascination with Enid Blyton. I was seven years old. My mother then gave me her old copy of the Wishing Chair. That was the day I got lost in the world of magic and the supernatural. After reading the Mallory Towers series I wanted to go to a boarding school. When I grew older, I moved on to different authors, but the urge to study away from home stayed.

R L Stine came next with his eerie and creepy Goosebumps. Much to the dismay of my mother who wanted me to read something pleasant, I was stuck on The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb and Be Careful What You Wish For. Once I finished the classic Goosebumps series, I was old enough to move on to the novels written by Stine for older readers like Blind Date and The Cheerleaders Trilogy. They were darker and I loved them all the more. The seed for my love for witchcraft and the occult were sown then and there.

Along with Goosebumps, I was reading a lot of Nancy Drew books. The girl detective was an inspiration by being so smart and independent. To my teenage mind she was the perfect woman and I wanted to be like her. That was when I got the idea that I wanted to be a private detective when I grew up or at least a forensic scientist. Agatha Christie and Sidney Sheldon also fuelled this desire avidly. The Nancy Drew books stayed with me through my mid-teens and along with the Sweet Valley High books, taught me a lot about romance and boys!

When I was in Class 6, my friend gave me Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I became the biggest Potterhead in town. Harry Potter became a way

of life.

In between all of the mania I read Doctors by Erich Segal and I knew a surgeon was what I wanted to be. That was my first realistic ambition and I strove to work towards it.

But unfortunately, my poor skills in Physics got to me, and I dropped out of the science stream in Class 11. The urge to heal remained and I learnt the art of pranic healing instead.

I was then in a dilemma because I didn’t know what I was capable of. Then it dawned on me. I was always making huge decisions about my life by reading. I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to be that person who helped people make such decisions, I wanted to be a writer. So I became more and more interested in reading. Jonathan Stroud made a huge impact on me then with his Bartimaeus Trilogy. His style of writing was the one that attracted me the most — dark humour. I saw that it was my style too and I worked on developing it.

I did my Bachelors in Journalism and now I am doing my Masters in Creative Writing. I have books and people who wrote them to thank for making my life so vivid and creative. These people opened my mind to believe in things I couldn’t see and to trust myself above all. The books were my strength, my guides, and my best friends. I can say with utmost confidence, reading can take you places when nothing else can. I am grown up now, and I am what they made me.

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