Himani, a graduate of IIIT Pune, joined o9 Solutions right after college in July this year. She’s a Functional Consultant with o9’s Customer Success team and enjoys interacting with colleagues and clients around the world.
Himani considers her spontaneity to be the driving force behind her many pursuits, be it reading, writing, painting, creating digital art, or playing violin.
For the WLTBO contest, Himani partnered with Aravind Unnikrishnan, her IIIT Pune batchmate, to form the contest’s only winning team Gintama (named after Himani's favorite anime show).
Himani talks about what inspired her to write her poem, her favourite books and how reading has changed her.
Himani with one of her paintings
On writing the poem…
When I saw the email about the contest, I liked the fact that there were many options to choose from. Since I'm comfortable writing, I decided to experiment with a concise form like that of a poem which could convey my message with greater depth despite using fewer words.
Because the contest was centered around an interesting question “What do books mean to you?”, I realized I wanted to write about how books can affect lives in meaningful and powerful ways. I began to think about the different kinds of people who could find themselves in books.
Around that time, I was watching a series about a young boy who'd read books in his attic while hiding from his abusive stepfather.
I thought maybe I could weave a story around this plot to show how books could impact the boy’s life.
This made me also think about those from the LGBTQ community and their various struggles to be accepted for who they are.
So the devil in the poem represents the patriarchal society. That’s how the poem developed in my mind – first a character, then his background and circumstances, and later, how he discovers books that changed his life.
After I had scribbled down the random sentences and words that came to my mind, I revised the poem by rhyming the lines.
On teaming up for the contest…
Aravind is good at critiquing and providing feedback on what needs to be fixed. Whenever I shared a draft with him, he’d review and share his thoughts on what to add or change in the poem.
Thoughts about MyBookWorks' WLTBO contest…
And I need a lot of inspiration to write!
Generally, I can’t think of a context to write about – it comes randomly and rarely to me
But WLTBO, especially the question it had asked, “What books mean to you?”, was a major inspiration for me to write the poem.
On how reading has changed me…
During my high school , I was recommended Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist and even though I was told it would be a boring read, I actually liked it a lot.
Those days I was also preparing for competitive exams. This book encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone.
Despite my apprehensions, I decided to leave the comforts of my home, moving to a different city to study in a high-pressure environment.
I became less afraid of new things and more comfortable with change.
I believe that decision taken a few years ago, thanks to the book, has made me stronger - I don’t get easily overwhelmed with challenges anymore.
Parting thoughts on why reading is important…
Reading good books help us grow.
There are so many things we don’t know about and there are so many angles we don’t view a problem from.
That's why I believe reading gives you not just a depth but also a breadth of perception by offering multiple angles to one context.
And reading also makes us more empathetic, which is undeniably a much-needed skill for all of us.