“Reading makes a full man” said English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon and no truer words were said than these. Reading nourishes the intellect and nurtures the imagination. There is nothing more relaxing and soothing than sitting in the corner of a room with a book in your hands. Without travelling, without even moving an inch, the reader is transported to a new world and is exposed to a new culture and new ideas.

Reading is a gift that not all inherit and therefore the Government of UAE’s initiative to declare 2016 as the Year of Reading is a great idea. This initiative should open the hitherto closed door for many and make them aware of the extensive powers that reading has. Parents and teachers will have a major role to play and they will have to come up with enterprising ways to encourage and entice children towards reading.

Today’s world is a world of technology. People have many distractions and diversions to spend their time. Most prefer to play a game on a computer or be active on social media, rather than to get involved in a simple activity such as reading. To steer them away from electronics and make them hold a book would be tantamount to climbing Mt Everest in inhospitable circumstances. So, parents and teachers will have to set the ball rolling. In order to do so, they can set a specific time at home and school for reading, and not only this, they should also read at the same time.

As I write this, I am imagining myself with a book in my hands, in the corner of my room, leafing through the pages and my mind wandering into the magnificent, exotic universe that the writer has created.

— The reader is an Indian banker based in Dubai