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For the WLTBO Winners Spotlight Edition, we spoke to Deepanshu Raju whose winning entry was the intriguing and fascinating poem “What Books Mean To Me”.

Deepanshu is from Nagpur and speaks fluent Telugu and Marathi, in addition to English and Hindi.

After graduating with a B.Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from NIT Raipur in 2021, Deepanshu joined o9 Solutions as a Consultant in the Customer Success team.

Besides being an avid reader, Deepanshu also blogs, paints, and enjoys playing badminton and chess. At school, he was the head boy and an all-rounder, excelling not just in academics but also winning several national and state-level competitions for arts, sports, and academics.


Deepanshu at home with his trophies

Deepanshu talks about what inspired him to write his poem, his favourite books and his reading habits.

On writing my poem…

When I first heard about Who Let The Books Out, I felt nostalgic because I used to participate in similar contests when I was in school. That weekend after the contest was announced, I just picked up a pen and paper, and started writing my poem.

While penning down my poem, I took references from my day-to-day life, and sayings of famous people.

For instance, if you see the last line of my poem, it reads “Yet not men, books stay alive forever and that we all can’t deny!” is inspired from a statement by the famous social reformer and speaker, Henry Ward Beecher, who said that books are not men and yet it’s books that stay alive.

I gave my own touch to his profound words. Similarly, I transformed many such perceptive sentences from various conversations into poetic lines.


Drawings by Deepanshu

On books and reading…

I enjoy reading books on philosophy and romance.

One of my favourite books is “The Secret to Teen Power” by Paul Harrington. This book is similar to Rhonda Bryne’s “The Secret” but has been written specifically for teenagers.

My other favourite is “Wings of Fire” by Dr APJ Kalam.

There’s a story behind how I discovered this book.

When I was in the tenth grade, our teacher asked us to read this book because he knew it was a crucial period for his students who were busy preparing for various exams. He told us that in spite of our best efforts, our results may or mayn’t reflect our hard work and therefore, we must be prepared for all situations that life has to offer, and that this book will help us develop a stronger mindset.

Through Dr Kalam’s book, I learned how he experienced failures and how he viewed those experiences as learning opportunities.


On my reading habits…

After school, I lost touch with books, but I recently got back to reading again.

Every day I read before I go to sleep and have set a target to read around 25 pages daily.

Though there’re days when I’m unable to read 25 pages, I make sure I catch up on my reading the next day.

To help me retain what I read, I make notes of various snippets that I can use in my conversations later on – it could be a quote or a concept that’s explained clearly.

Though this may all sound a lot, I actually don’t spend hours reading.

In fact, I allot just 30 mins each day and read briefly. Just maintaining this habit consistently has helped me keep my mind active and have positively influenced my thought process.


Deepanshu reading at his desk

Why I believe reading is crucial…

When you read good books, you start feeling sharper and smarter because books help you develop your intellect and inspire the way you think, consequently, transforming your entire personality.

I would urge everyone to read daily for at least 20-30 mins – it’s a powerful habit, one that’ll offer massive lifelong benefits.

And if you aren’t sure which books to read, check out MyBookWorks, they provide fabulous recommendations. (Editor’s Note – Thanks for the plug Deepanshu!)

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Deepanshu Raju

Consultant, o9 Solutions

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