For the final part of MyBookWorks' WLTBO Winners Spotlight Edition, we interviewed Moutushi Banerjee whose winning entry was the brilliantly written piece “Books and Me”, which left a strong impression on our judging panel who couldn’t stop raving about Moutushi’s excellent essay.
Moutushi is a Senior Consultant with o9 Solutions' Presales team. She joined o9 Solutions last year after graduating with an MBA from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS).
Besides being a voracious reader, Moutushi enjoys writing, occasional sketching and travelling.
Moutushi talks about why she wrote her article, her current reads and how reading has transformed her.
Perfect Combination - Moutushi reading a book with her favorite cup of tea
Thoughts when I first heard about the “Who Let The Books Out” Contest…
The contest’s topic was “What do books mean to you?”.
And I thought, “I could go on and on about what books mean to me😊”.
Though the contest mentioned a 400-word limit, my first draft had more than 2000 words!
When I sat down to write my first draft, words flowed easily. It revolved around how I got into reading books, how my favourite genres have evolved with age, and how those’ve helped me become a better person.
Moving hearts and minds…
As I was writing the article, I thought about who my audience for the piece would be.
My intention was not to make those who already read fall in love with books.
I wrote for those who haven’t started reading – to inspire them to think about reading a book and to enjoy the feeling of finishing a great book.
Editing a 2000-word essay to a 700-word essay…
The topic of the contest stayed in my head for a few days before I started writing.
I decided that I’m not going to critique the piece, I’m just going to write what naturally comes to my mind.
And then I forgot about the piece for a week, before I began making more changes which paved the way for the second, shorter version.
The joy of writing the piece…
Though it took me around 2-3 weeks to write the article, I loved every bit of the process.
I’d write after work, or when I found spare time, or during weekends.
I’d love to write more but I don’t have a gun to my head to make me write more!
That’s why WLTBO’s deadline was perfect because I was compelled to turn in the piece before it ended.
Two fabulous books that I’m reading these days…
One is Pather Panchali, a Bengali book that my grandmother suggested I read.
It’s a beautiful story and though it’s written in the old classics style, I find it worth the effort.
The other book I’m reading is P.V. Narasimha Rao’s biography that has been recommended by MyBookWorks – it’s an exceptionally good read.
I especially loved the way the book revolves around economics, politics, and Rao’s personal life. It’s jam-packed with fantastic insights into how Rao charted India’s economic revival.
Why I consider reading books an important skill…
Reading is the finest way you can develop empathy.
Because through reading, you live the experiences of others.
There are so many people who go through heaps of struggles – it could be financial challenges, handling health issues, or having to deal with harassment.
Though you or those close to you mayn’t have experienced some of these struggles yet, if these were to happen to you, you wouldn’t know how to deal with them. Worse still, if you have colleagues or team members facing such adversities, you wouldn’t know how to support or help them out.
But if you’ve read books that deal with these issues, it not only makes you aware that such things happen, but also helps you think through these situations in more objective ways, which in turn you can use to help others.
We often feel we’re alone in our struggles and then when we read books, we realize we aren’t the only ones.
If a book is good and has found an audience, it means two things – one, there are many people struggling with the very problems addressed in the book, and two, such books also contain enormous wisdom to help you solve those problems as well.