“Ignoring the dust, noise and all the disturbance at the shop, I opened the book. Author Brian Tracy posed a question – “What is the opposite of worry?” He said, “The opposite of worry is taking action. It doesn’t guarantee a solution, but it keeps you busy and at least you stop worrying.”
I asked myself, “What actions could I take? How can I resolve this issue?” The easiest and obvious option was to email WhatsApp’s customer service saying that we are on a mission to Make India Read. I requested the community to do the same and the ban was lifted the very next day.
But it got me thinking…. If my mission was to make India read, this isn’t an appropriate platform. I asked for help from friends and together we developed a mobile app called Booklet (a smaller version of a book). They didn’t charge any service fee. I experienced the power of ‘social return on investment’
I launched the Booklet app on the 23rd of April – World Book Day. It’s celebrated as the birth and death anniversary of Shakespeare.
The app is simple to operate. First off, it doesn’t have any irritating ads and subscription fees. The books go through a screening process before I read them to summarise.
Second and the thing I found quite innovative was, you can read or listen to only one summary at a time. See, I have summarized over 200 books and I read a quote that goes like this, “Abundance is the enemy of motivation. Human values things which are scarcely available”. So, you read one to get one, no accumulating. You can download a new Booklet of your choice, only if you read/listen to the existing Booklet.
But I feared at the back of my mind that in the name of Make India Read, am I making India lazy? Will people stop reading books and read-only summaries? When I started to add affiliate links, many people bought the books to dig deeper. The fear vanished.
One fine day, I got a call from a young girl at 11 pm. She said, “Wow Amrut! I love your voice. I love your narration and I listen to all your booklets without fail.” “Is this girl flirting with me? Let me pull her leg”, I thought to myself. I asked her, “Why do you always listen to the booklets? Why don’t you read as well since we have both audio and text in the app”. Guess the reply….
She said “Amrut, I’m blind. I can’t read because I can’t see.”
I got goosebumps all over my body. How did I not think about people like her? The booklet can be a boon to my visually impaired brothers and sisters of India! Someone can read books through my eyes while I am alive. What else can I expect from life?
I slept like a baby that night. True happiness comes from serving people. Chasing money will never bring me this satisfaction.
I made friends with that girl and she introduced me to the president of the National Association for the Blind. She invited me to deliver a speech at one of the seminars. I realized there are more than 10 lakh graduate brothers and sisters in India who can’t read because they can’t see. I’m glad that they too are a part of the mission.
After my speech, she gifted me Robin Sharma’s “Who Will Cry When You Die”. He says that if you want to find the higher purpose of your life, imagine that you’re dead. It’s your funeral and people are standing around your body. What is that one thing that you want them to talk about you at your funeral?
So, I imagined that I am dead, with funeral rituals going on. I asked myself, “What would I want to be remembered for? What would I like people to think and say about me? Is it Amrut was a man of intellect who helped save tons of money on taxes for his clients?” OR is it Amrut, spent his entire life trying to cultivate reading habits in Indians, and today, because of him millions of Indians are reading and changing their lives for the better?”
An exhilarating YES came from my heart for the latter. I found my purpose, the WHY of my life, the reason to wake up every morning. Books can make us think different. They can bring health, wealth, love, and happiness into our lives. Do you believe in my belief? If yes, welcome to the Mission Make India Read.”
If you haven’t read/listened to his summaries, then I would suggest that you do. The booklet app is available in the Appstore and can be accessed only with a restricted key. Let me know if you want the key. I will post in the comments.
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