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For the WLTBO Winners Spotlight Edition, we interviewed Shubhadeep Mukhopadhyay whose winning entry was “The Books Song”, a poem which wowed us with its inspiring backstory and creative rendition.

Shubhadeep is a Director at o9 Solutions. He started his career with i2 technologies, and he recently joined o9, which he considers a homecoming.

 

Outside of work, Shubhadeep enjoys spending time with his wife and his 3-year-old son. A multi-talented individual, he also writes and paints in his spare time.

 

Shubhadeep shares with remarkable clarity not just how reading has shaped him but also two amazing works of digital art he has created. 

On my reading journey…

I was hooked on books right from childhood. In college, I graduated to reading books by authors such as Salman Rushdie, Ernest Hemingway, D H Lawrence, and Frank Kafka. Though these were heavy, melancholic books, I enjoyed reading them.

I became fascinated with mythology after reading Devdutt Pattanaik’s “Myth = Mithya” and since then, I've been reading many mythological books.

Thanks to my son, I'm also reading a lot of children’s books these days and reliving some of my childhood.

Continuing the tradition…

My son has just started to read, and I make sure I set aside time for reading with him.

The key thing missing in today’s education is mental resiliency and I believe you can develop it by being exposed to books, especially the ones on Indian mythology and the various concepts embedded within it.

 

Though my son is too young to fully grasp everything, I hope by exposing him to these concepts he’ll at least try to decipher some of the wisdom contained within these stories on his own when he grows up.

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Shubhadeep reading with son Rishi

The one book that made a huge impression…

The pandemic has reaffirmed an important learning - you can’t control anything but your own mind. And books on Indian mythology have certainly helped me surf the tides of difficult times. My recent favorite is “Mystical Tales For A Magical Life” by Shubha Vilas which helped both my wife and I gain newer perspectives. 

Though the pandemic has been a bleak period, it has also made me more grateful for all the good things. For instance, I realized I was able to spend more time with my kid, read more books, complete certifications, devote time to writing, and even explore new places around Bangalore.

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Shubhadeep with wife and son

On the reading habits that have served me well over the years…

Read every day. Just as we need the right kind of food to keep us physically nourished, we need to read the right kind of books to keep our brains nourished.

For instance, when I used to go to office, I would spend at least 30 – 60 mins reading something technical. After I’d return home, I made sure I read at least 1-2 pages of the book that I’d be reading.

 

I strongly believe that if you want to do something, you’ll find the time for it.

These days, I first read a book to my son and after he goes to sleep, I read my books. I even make it a point to switch off my mobile before going to sleep and read for at least 30 mins. In fact, my boss is surprised that I switch off not just my mobile but also my Wi-Fi!

My thoughts when I read about MyBookWorks' “Who Let The Books Out” contest…

Exciting and fun! And ​I like to have fun in whatever I do. There was this one time when I won a radio contest and I was thrilled! In college, I used to write articles for newspapers such as The Asian Age and the Times of India. So, I enjoy participating and importantly, I enjoy writing.

The inspiration to write my poem was my bookshelf that was right behind me. I saw it and started writing, and the thing about writing is, you don’t think and write, it just comes to you.

On reading and creativity…

I like to pen down my perspectives after reading books. ​Recently I was in a creative zone, and my wife and I began creating digital art which we’ve named Cusp Pencils. 

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Cusp Pencils: Anything is possible [Click on the above image to read the book]

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Cusp Pencils: The Story of Ideas [Click on the above image to read the book]

Why reading books is crucial…

I believe reading is the window to the wider world.

Because it’s through reading that you explore newer ideas and newer places.

For example, it was by reading Hemingway, I learned about Paris. Later, when I visited the city, it was as if I was reliving what I had read. Similarly, I was able to appreciate a lot of other places that I visited because I had read about them in different books.

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Shubhadeep Mukhopadhyay

Director, o9 Solutions

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