LET’S REWIND MY HISTORY’S CASSETTE TAPE BACKWARDS IN ORDER TO BETTER UNDERSTAND the necessity and importance of reading constantly and keeping the mind active. After all, who knows that could well be your side of the story, too? And please note: Today’s views are essentially addressed more to the youth and the student class than to the intellectuals.
As pointed out previously — abject poverty + difficult childhood because of the death of my father before my birth + poor education at primary and secondary levels + absence of radio or TV sets + shortage of a good guide in the field of education + nonexistence of self-determination, self-discipline and self-reliance; etc, etc — all were the root causes of a very poor reading culture.
But that did not last long. From the moment I stopped wallowing in self-pity. I shook off my inferiority complex. I rebounded like an airtight ball every time I committed mistakes or fell to the ground or fell behind. MY MAGICAL AND QUICK-FIX SOLUTION? Recourse to intensive reading.  It was like a breath of fresh air after decades of mould.
Reading to forge a forceful and warm personality
From that time onwards, that habit has verily turned into my lifeblood; life belt; life boat; life jacket—it not lifeline. Believe you me, that reading culture—which in truth is now my life support system, nay, my lifesaver—has quite often saved me from many many precipices and other pitfalls of life. True, I am a late bloomer who has developed but very very late in life.
Also correct is the fact that had I known the importance and the joys of reading when I was young, today, I would have been undoubtedly a significantly different person. Alas, I have deep regret for wasting so much precious time of a priceless life that is regrettably too short. By history’s standards!
With those gloomy old days of mine, here comes a word of caution: Our young friends should never ever make my grave, if not, silly mistake—of not reading. If so, don’t kid yourselves: You’ll stand to lose more in life than gain. Take into account: Life is too short. Each and every second needs to be utilized and lived for a good purpose. To help yourselves and the country! Okay, as for my part, I am now trying to catch up on lost time, direction and pride. And make amends to myself even though I fear it’s too late now! But the fact remains: I am consumed with guilt and bitter regret.
That’s why, in all the last 9 successive leadership training courses, we did stress on the importance of daily reading. Rewind the videotape: Remember from 1963 to 1976, I was a primary school teacher. I was attached, most of the time, to pilot schools where modern methods of teaching were experimented. From 1967 to 1976, I worked at Beau Bassin COLONEL MAINGARD and BARKLY GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS. Both were annexed to the then TEACHER’S TRAINING COLLEGE. History suggests that I conducted lots of demonstration classes for the latter. Inspectors, Head teachers and other senior officials often attended. Verily, it was then and there that I did develop and acquire a taste for reading: I had to arm myself with all the teaching facts to face the group of intellectuals. Reading was the panacea!  But later, time and time again, I faltered in my resolve.
A nation of readers: The way ahead
It’s a telling, if not sad, example of how absence of reading can be a serious impediment to one’s personality. Before, I was full of inferiority complex—lacked confidence—and harboured self-destruction, negative thoughts and self-doubt. And sometimes even had recourse to lies because of little knowledge. Furthermore, I was not so articulate because of inadequate or limited vocabulary—which all resulted in a sluggish, lazy, non-combatant and non-aggressive mind. Offshoot?  A sort of personality disorder which was neither attractive nor the focus of attention.  And the fallout? I suffered the consequences and humiliations in many fields of life. LET NOT THE YOUNG OF TODAY FOLLOW MY PAST FOOLISH TREND. THEY’LL DEEPLY REGRET THEIR MISSPENT YOUTH!
However, bear in mind, that’s a long time ago. THE PRESENT: I read a lot every day. My Bible? REUTERS; AFP; NEWSWEEK; BBC; RFI and some other international magazines of world reputation. All are my lifeblood if not lifeline. In simple words, they are like breathing fresh air every day. Reading and listening have both transformed, if not metamorphosed, my personality. And that even if I still have a long way to go. A lot more to learn and discover myself and the world! Either way, reading helps and reactivates all the hidden millions of cells of the brain. In particular, it moulds the personality, too. Not only that, some scientists say that it also wards off the Alzheimer’s disease. THEREFORE: Read and read as much as you can. And whichever is the language. But read good materials which will improve your personality, outlook and life!
Regrettably, we are not a nation of readers. If only, REUTERS, AFP, BBC and RFI could have formed part of the College and University English and French syllabus; for sure, there would have been a considerably different and better Mauritius by 2017. Also: If annual increments and promotions in both the Government and the Private Sector could have been linked to reading! ALL SAID, FRANKLY, READING IS THE MANTRA TO WAY AHEAD IN THIS BRUTAL CUT-THROAT COMPETITIVE WORLD. Agreed?