From contemporary history and historical fiction to thrillers and biographies, C Balagopal loves them all. The books piled on his table are a standing testimony to his eclectic reading habit. With a smile, he says that he is not a “tidy reader”. Depending on the mood, he prefers to choose one from the set and keeps bookmarking them to pick up where he left off. He’s managed this system for all these years and admits he likes the work of Michael Douglas, Graham Greene and Eric Ambler.
The managing director of Terumo Penpol wakes up early every day and reads for an hour-and-a-half as he finds it is the ideal time for it. “I don’t read for a purpose or to enhance my knowledge. I find reading is a better way to spend time, and do it with passion,” he says. Even though he is at the helm of affairs of a big industry, he manages his responsibilities and passion with élan. “My wife and I have come to an agreement that we would talk to each other in the morning and I won’t read then,” he smiles.
From the hundreds of books that he has read, when asked to name those which attracted him, Balagopal picks a few “wonderful, enjoyable and realistic” books that “take philosophy out of the bookshelves and into the living room.” One such book is Carl Zuckmayer’s autobiography, A Part of Myself. The work picturises major events of the 20th century and speaks of a man who remained very close to his friends.
A long list of Alain de Botton’s work makes up his other favourites: The Consolations of Philosophy, How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, Status Anxiety, The Art of Travel and Religion for Atheists. He also likes Gunter Grass’ Peeling the Onion. His books, iPod and a pair of walking shoes accompany him on all his trips, he says.