Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx 
Nowadays, I rarely, if ever, read fiction or novels. It is odd since my love affair with reading began with novels. I was never much of a reader, so much so, I hadn't read many books (outside my study curriculum) until I finished school. To say that I was preoccupied with course material would be a lie. Truth is, I didn't like reading at all. I don't know how or when, but gradually I started appreciating books. Now, I can't live without them. Okay, may be I have taken it a bit too far with my last sentence, but you get the point.

This brings us to Hunger Games tri-series. I enjoyed reading the first book of the tri-series. I found the second book readable and enjoyable in parts but the third book in the series was a let down. 

During my engineering days in Bangalore, I somehow managed to not succumb to ragging by the seniors in the hostel or on campus. If you did your engineering in India (and lived in hostel), you will agree that getting away without succumbing to ragging is a fairly rare event. Was it due to the fact that I was extra-ordinarily strong? Or was it due to the fact that my seniors were extra-ordinarily weak? Or was it just luck? I like to think that this was due to me being persistent in the face of adversity, but I doubt it and will be first to admit that I will never know for sure.

My seniors tried several measures to subject me to ragging ranging from threat to physical force. When everything else failed, they issued a memo abstaining hostelities from talking to me at all times regardless of whether they were in hostel or outside. Although I did not know this at the time, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Typically, the non-local hostelites tend to remain within the closed group of hostelites. Ousted from the so called 'hostel fraternity' I had no choice but to spend time and mingle with the locals. To date, I cherish the close friendship I developed with my Bangalorean friends during my first year in university.

It was during this time, someone (ashamed at not being able to recall the person’s name) recommended 'The Fountainhead' to me. I bought it from majestic for a mere INR 20, thanks to piracy. With no one to talk to in the hostel, no internet and TV, I buried myself in the book. And what a book it was.

The book drives home the idea of 'individualism versus collectivism, not in politics but within a man's soul'. 'The Fountainhead' had a profound effect on me. I made friends with 'Howard Roark' and 'Gail Wynand', my favourite characters. This book was and remains an indefinite source of strength for me. I highly recommend this book.

By the way, to my credit (yes, I can be self-righteous at times), I held up my end of the bargain by never ragging any of my juniors.

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