Growing up, I was the quiet child, the one who was always lost in her thoughts. I engaged with the world through the abstractness of my intellect. It felt like a superpower, being able to blow out bubbles of thoughts and stories and then, to unleash them onto the pages of my diaries where they would stay with me as keepsakes: recording the train of my thoughts discovering new landscapes.

The power to create an alternate reality in my mind when I read books or watched movies had me hooked. I had an unquenchable thirst to know more, to feel more, to encounter new cultures, peoples and ideas through stories.

All I needed was a good story and I would lose myself in it for hours. I remember when I was very young, I always felt I was a character in a book and I would see myself as a third person, witnessing my life from a distance. My thoughts often took on a narrative complete with beginnings, conflicts, resolutions and an end, punctuated with colorful dialogue and characters. Major life events and everyone around me became the background and characters of my stories and my diaries were my personal storybooks. The books I read were flights of fantasy that felt more real than my actual life.

I remember when I was very young, I always felt I was a character in a book and I would see myself as a third person, witnessing my life from a distance.

For me, taking weekend trips with my father to the British Council Library in Connaught Place was like a trip to Disneyland. I spent hours browsing and feeling my way through the collection. It was a painstaking routine, sifting through books to ‘connect’ with them. It wasn’t just about each individual book; I needed to feel a harmony resonate within the selection of books I was taking home to accompany me through the week. The stories were my passage on journeys through time and space and needed to complement each other. If the maximum books I could borrow were ten, you could be sure I would be lugging a mountainous pile of ten of the thickest books to be checked out. This was my most cherished routine. Of course, this meant I had coke-bottle like thick glasses early on. I devoured words wherever I found them – on toothpaste tubes, on any packaged item, on any surface. I didn’t really discriminate. As long as there were words printed on something, it would catch my attention immediately.

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I have distinct memories of my early childhood, preteen and adolescent years. I was restless to discover who I was. I wrote relentlessly to find myself. I read to understand whom I identified with. I wrote to discover my innermost dreams and desires. Who am I? Who do I want to be?

Similar to my affinity for reading words off of any surface, I also wrote on every surface I could find that could hold the ink of a pen or the scribble of a pencil. I wrote on the walls of my bedroom.

When I was 13, I inked my personal mission, ‘to learn, to grow, and to give,’ on the wall next to my bed and have remained true to it ever since. Those were the three words that led me to my career in education and entrepreneurship. My twin passions, my twin flames, are writing and education. And it was my passion for storytelling that led me to education. In an attempt to further engage with my love for stories, I imagined how they could be used to teach and learn. Creating something new excites me, and it was the chance to create change and impact through innovations to the teaching and learning process that led me to the field of education.

I am who I am because I create. When I am not creating something, I feel incomplete – like I am living a more muddied, blurred version of my life.

I feel a distinct joie de vivre pulsate within me through writing and edupreneurship. Both processes help me rediscover myself and become new everyday.

When I am at my desk writing is when I am at my happiest because I have arrived at my destination and I am traveling, all at once. Now, what could be more enchanting than that?

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Rupangi Sharma is an author, editor and an educationist who lives in Mumbai with her husband. Her non-fiction contribution has been published in the bestselling Chicken Soup For the Soul Series, Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul: On Friendship. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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