"I am a self confessed bookworm" - Zarina Mehta


In Conversation With Zarina Mehta

"My favourite thing in the world is to sit on a beach (preferably Goa), sip a cup of tea and read a good book. I've read and re-read some of my favourite books doing precisely this!

I make it a point to read on all holidays, or in planes while travelling. Also, Sunday afternoons after a good dhansak lunch (or dimsum at Royal China) my husband Ronnie works on his computer, I sit by my balcony; which looks out on some beautiful trees, with my dog near my feet (snoring away), drink hot tea and catch up on a good book. My idea of happiness!

I probably have over 500-600 books or maybe more. I buy at least 2-3 books a week and read them. In fact, many of them are still lying at my parents' house as there is no space for them in my home! Noone really knows what books I like or buy, since I don't ever lend my books nor do I borrow them. If I'm attached to any objects in this world - it's my books! I can't stand it when people fold the page of their books to serve as a bookmark. It sort of drives me crazy!

My fetish and love for the printed word started when I was eight. Till then I was in the US and studied in an American public school. And when I came to India, many of my relatives sort of found it funny that I couldn't even read or write. To make up for the lost time, I took to reading with a vengeance. Now, I am a self-confessed bookworm."

My favourite books

" I keep away from books on the television industry since that is something that we deal with on a regular basis. My all-time favourite is Tolkein's, Lord of the Rings Trilogy; which I first read when I was 15. And recently I re-read it for the 9th time! It reminds me of the classic Don Quixote story? where a single, ordinary person fights against all odds to rise above the rest. And by far, the outcome is not important as Lord Krishna says in the Bhagwad Geeta. The fact that someone chooses to sacrifice themselves to fight for what is right is the key to this story.

It is, in fact this story which influences me in everything I do. A single person can make the biggest difference. So I believe it's important to try regardless of the consequences. If you succeed, it's wonderful and if you fail, that's alright too - at least you tried. You learnt something. This is why we all are here.

Some other books which I've enjoyed reading are Milan Kundera's - The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's, Love in the time of Cholera; and more recently Kurban Said's Ali and Nino is another masterpiece. These books explore the various shades of a man-woman relationship.

Some other authors I love are Amy Tan and Chitra Dwarka Banerjee, who have written some beautiful stories about women bonding; about the subtle yet strong relationships hey share.

Vikram Chandra's Love and Longing in Bombay and Rohington Mistry's A Fine Balance, possibly the most exquisitely depressing book ever written. On a totally different track, I love books on Maths and Science and I've read all the Time & Life books from cover to cover! I remember reading another off-beat & fascinating book called The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav which is about the beauty of physics!

Currently, I am reading...

As of now, I am reading Swami Vivekananda's entire work. He is the most brilliant mind I've come across.His thoughts are a great source of knowledge and hope for all of us. I wish practitioners of today's so-called `Hindutva' read his books to understand the true meaning of Hinduism. I think, it's the most beautiful, tolerant and all-encompassing of philosophies. I am also onto another fascinating book by Thomas Friedman called The World is Flat. It clearly tells us that the future belongs to India and China."

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