Jun 10, 2013

Why I write

It was a balmy summer morning. It had rained the previous night and the morning felt fresh and cool. The air was heavy with the fragrance of mango blossoms and somewhere in the distance a Koel bird sang happily in anticipation of more rains. 

The Old Man and the little girl walked through the mango orchard. Her small pudgy hand clasped in his is large one, as dry and wrinkled as autumn leaves. His big strides slowed down to match her little ones.

They walked in silence down the row of trees, past the fields where wheat stalks swayed gently in the wind and towards the river swelled with the monsoon rains. He, immersed in prayer and she unwilling to disturb his conversations with God.

Finally as they reached the river, he finished his prayers and sighed softly. This was her cue. She looked up at him eagerly and said “Dadu, tell me a story”.He had been expecting this. Every day she asked for a story and everyday he told her one. Sometimes, it was a story from the Panchatantra or the Ramayana and sometimes it was a story out of history, tales of battles fought and kingdoms won. 


But today, instead of beginning a story, he smiled, his eyes crinkling with the effort and said “why don’t you tell me one today”. He expected her to squirm and say that she didn't know any. But she looked up at him confidently and with a gleam in her eyes began to speak.

She started a story about a tiger and a woman it meets in the jungle. She prattled on, her childish imagination on fire, adding characters, making up the story even as she spoke. He listened quietly without interrupting her even once.

Finally he asked her where she had heard the story.” No where Dadu, I made it up just now. I love making up stories.”

He didn’t say anything, but the next day he got her a notebook and a pencil and told her to write whatever came to her mind. And she, who had barely learnt how to string full sentences, confidently wrote day and night. She wrote childish stories, or descriptions of the day she had spent, telling tales of their walks near the river, the mangoes that fell during the storm and the frogs that jumped about after it rained.


Her notebook became her prized possession, something she never showed to anyone but him. He would correct her English, teach her new words but he never ever questioned or curbed her flights of imagination or her writing style.

The ritual continued over the years. The first thing she did when she went to her grandparents’ home during the summer vacations was show him whatever she had written over the months. He would read it and nod, and sometimes when the piece was exceptionally good she would be rewarded with a pat on her back. In spite of being the prolific writer that he was, he was not a man of many words. But to her the pat was like a benediction.

She stopped writing after he passed away. She couldn't bring herself to write anymore. But after a while she realized she missed it too much. Writing for her was almost a need, a release. It was the only way she knew how to express herself. So she picked up her pen and began writing again.


That little girl was me. And perhaps that is why I write. Because my grandfather taught me how, because I inherited this craft from him and because this is his legacy that I carry forward.


60 comments:

  1. Ruchira, This was beautiful and poignant. I could feel your love for your grandfather come alive here.

    :)

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    1. Thank you ! I had a lump in my throat as I wrote this.I do miss him so .. even now.

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  2. Oh what lovely memories and such a strong bond! Wow, I love this memory. The bond with get stronger, the more you write

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    1. Yes, Ritu I do have lovely memories of my time with him !

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  3. :) This is one beautiful post, Ruchira.
    Loved it.. And I hope you continue the tradition..Hand the pen to someone who deserves it.. :)

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    1. Thank you. So glad you enjoyed it !

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  4. beautiful, Ruchira! Beautiful!! I have no other words!

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    1. Thank you so much ! You made my day !

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  5. This is my first visit here.Iwill read few more posts and comment,but,this one is an awesome post.

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    1. welcome here. I am so glad you liked the post. Hope you like the rest of the blog too.

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  6. Loss for words. Loved reading it. Beautiful :-)

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  7. The most beautiful thing I have read in a while. I know that you know that your Dadu is patting your back in appreciation even today.

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    1. Thank you Rickie ! Yes, I hope he is :P

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  8. Interesting story. I have known other bloggers tell this story of their interest in writing starting during the childhood. I envy you and the others. My pathetic handwriting was a major constraint for me during my childhood till computers free me.

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    1. Welcome here :P
      I suppose you did not win any handwriting contests in school :P

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  9. This is such a special post.. so moving. I am so glad you inherited your writing skills from your Dadu and you have kept it alive. I am sure he must be very proud of you :)

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    1. Bhavya, I hope he is ! His time with me was very special for me !

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  10. wow !
    I feltt wow reading this. My Grand dad used to narrate experience too . By the time I actually wrote some thing he was not there to see it all :( But he always used to have that confidence that I will make some difference. Ironically just few days after his death I secured dist 1st and cried silently as I wanted to announce this loudly to him !!

    He nt only excelled in English but also helped me with Maths which was my biggest fear

    <3 ely post Ruchira. Hope u still hav that ntebook

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    1. Afsan, I am sure your granddad is watching over you and he must have felt so proud of your achievements ! Hugs !

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  11. This is a beautiful post. What a wonderful gift your grandfather passed on to you, Ruchira.

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    1. Yes Cynthis. Its a gift beyond measure.

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  12. Such a touching post this is. Keep Writing dear, I am sure he will always be proud of you.

    http://www.heresmysay.com/why-i-write/

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  13. This is so beautiful. Thank you, Dadu! I am very glad the little girl continues to write! Hugs, Ruchira!

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  14. What a special bond and how beautifully your living his legacy, Ruchira! ♥

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    1. It was a very special bond Corinne. I still miss him.

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  15. Lovely story! I love your nostalgic tales. I shared a great bond with my maternal grandfather. He was an able lawyer. I guess I picked his gift of the gab :). The writing part I get from my dad.

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    1. I think the bonds we share with our grandparents go very deep.

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  16. Loved it. The story flows gently and touches hearts. One of your best I have read.

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  17. Wow! what a legacy you have inherited Ruch. I loved everything about it. so very beautiful and so poignant and yes so full of life. It made me happy. I don't know why but i had a lump in my throat reading it.

    sigh! it made me a li'l sad too. Because i never had got the opportunity to share such bonds with my grandparents. My grand mom(mom's mom) was an exceptionally talented woman whose expertise spread across in diverse fields. but i never got the opportunity to share good amount of time with her pertaining to some silly family issues. But then my mom inherited many of her talents.... and may be a li'l bit got brush on me too... and perhaps that's why i can write.

    Hugs.

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    1. I am sure you inherited many of her talents through your mom !

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  18. This is such a beautiful post about them emotions involved with grandparents. I remember my grandmother also always had a penchant for telling stories and somewhere I guess I took to her in spinning some of my own. It is a wonderful write up on prompt :)

    Richa

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    1. Thank you so much Richa and welcome here !

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  19. This is so cute, Ruchira...Loved the story, the narrative...you have a way with words, girl!

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  20. Ruchira.........I do this very rarely, when someone leaves me at a loss of words. <3 <3 <3

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    1. Blogwatig and speechless ! Thank you so much !

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  21. Wonderfully written Ruchira. Very nostalgic and felt very close to the heart.

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  22. This is such a beautiful tale of your journey with words... loved reading it!
    Keep writing and keep sharing, you have a way with words! :)

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    1. Thank you Shilpa. Means a lot coming from you !

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  23. No beta gift could he have given u ....

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  24. I'm so glad your grandfather encouraged you to write. And the stories of the Ramayana are my favourite - I used to sit riveted listening to my dadima.

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    1. Yes I know most of my Ramayana through the stories my grandparents told me!

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  25. That was such a special gift that your grandfather gave you.. And the story in your words, had me captivated. It was absolutely lovely to read!

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    1. Thank you so much :P and welcome here :P

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  26. Ruchira, it's such a cute reason to write and kudos to grand-pa. Im sure u meet ur grandpa now when u write.
    Vishal
    (www.vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com)

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  27. What beautiful memories. I wish I shared a similar bond with my grandparents. Loved this post.

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  28. Very touching. Your grand dad has really passed on a legacy to you.

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  29. Heart rendering indeed!
    My dad had this ability and I am trying to carry the torch forward.

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  30. Your grandpa taught you to live with a meaning. My love to him, wherever he is. For me, as a mother, this post is inspiring. The budding creativity in V needs to be channelized. And i will definitely gift him a diary when he starts to pen his words.

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