I am happier than I can say to announce that I have very recently succeeded in persuading my daughter, who is now thirteen and a half, to start up a blog of her own. It is linked on my blogroll (The Bootle Bum Trinket).
At just about her age, something I wrote first saw the light of day in a Bangla literary little magazine called Chetanik. It was a little essay called Shohorer Surjasto (Sunset in the City). My father had sent it to the editor, a friend of his, for publication in case he liked it. The erudite elderly gentleman wrote back very courteously, saying it was quite obvious that it was my father who had actually written it (‘it is not just the grasp of language but the maturity born of long and well-digested experience evident in this essay that makes it highly unlikely that a 13-year old could write it’, he wrote – I am translating verbatim, with his letter in front of me). My father shot back a letter, insisting that it was my work, and requesting him to come over and look into my school essays to put his doubts at rest, and the man actually sent someone – his nephew it was, I think – to do just that! Afterwards he not only published my essay but appended the entire correspondence with my dad, and added a most handsome apology and a blessing for me.
My parents rarely talked about what they would like me to do as a career, but I remember my mother saying nothing would please her more than to see me acquire a writer’s reputation. It took me many years after that to find out – the very hard way – that no one could make a living out of writing alone in
, and even to become a well established writer (albeit still a poor man, as most of our writers are, unless they are doing something lucrative on the side), one has to wear out one’s shoes and grovel before frequently incompetent editors with swollen egos and grease palms and cultivate ‘contacts’ and see one’s work being hijacked by others and other grossly demeaning stuff like that… happily, I lost the rather childish thrill that comes from seeing my name in print after getting several hundred bylines in a national daily when I was still a boy. So I decided that I would never take up writing for a living, but do it for personal pleasure alone. And I have stuck to that resolution all along. God has been kind in ensuring that I found other ways to make a living, while keeping the India me alive. fla
Now the wheel has turned full circle. My daughter started picking up language skills very early on, and began to experiment with writing when she was a mere child. Today, she is poised on the threshold of what I hope would be a long and happy adventure. And, thanks to modern-day tools like the internet and blogger, she
er has to see an editor in her life to see her work being published and read by hundreds or even thousands of people around the globe. My blessings go with her – that she may be luckier than I was, but unfortunately, it is already evident (from her experience in school) that the family curse goes with her too: whenever she writes something good (she has had little things published in newspapers already), not only her friends and their parents but her teachers say ‘Oh, her father writes for her!’ She will have to cope with that as best as she can. nev
I hope some of my most
t readers will visit her blog here and give her a few words of encouragement, constructive criticism, and tips on what to write about next. Just remember, though, what you were like at her age! arden