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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My daughter's new blog

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 India, 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 flame alive.

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 never 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.

I hope some of my most ardent 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!


Shilpi said...

Your daughter has all my wishes and...blessings. I hope too that she has a better fate.

I don't know much about constructive criticism nor much about suggestions about possible topics. I'm quite sure she has enough ideas of her own and observes enough to be able to pull out an interesting or a funny essay/story every week like someone else.

Last week when I saw her blog for the first time I was reminded of a story that she had started writing when she was a little over 6. I remember how thrilled and ridiculously pleased I had been to see that both she and I were characters in her story.

I might put in a couple of more lines later: but I wonder whether you see the world in a terribly different way than you did when you were 13 or whether you still see most/some things in the same way. I don't mean that in superficial niceties but as in how you felt or what you thought about the world and/or about yourself.

Many thanks for persuading your daughter to put up a blog.

More some other time. Take care.

Arijit said...

An inspiring quote for your little daughter--“Why be afraid of what people will say? Those who care about you will say, "Good luck!" and those who care only about themselves will never say anything worth listening to anyway.”

Mayuri said...


It was a pleasure reading Pupu's blog and I hope she finds the experience, exciting and fulfilling.

As for those unnecessary comments -- it is sad that instead of encouraging her (and may I even say, holding her up as an example to their own children who are obviously incapable of the thoughts and skills Pupu has exhibited), they are trying to discredit her.

My suggestion to Pupu: Dont bother. It means nothing. At worst, it is a very small price to pay for the wonderful parents you have.


Suvro Chatterjee said...

I want to thank from the bottom of my heart all those good people who took the trouble to respond to my request and visit my daughter's blog to write comments there, and enroll as followers, almost as soon as I wrote this post. God bless you all for warming a little girl's heart.

Vaishnavi said...

Dear Sir,

I visited Pupu's blog last night after a gap of almost a month and absolutely loved her latest post. I mean it from my heart when I say that you must be extremely proud of her :)


Suvro Chatterjee said...

Notice how few people have commented on her last blogpost, Vaishnavi! After all, it was not only about a book, but a Bengali book, and which modern day educated person (Bengalis not excluded) reads or thinks about such stuff?

Yes, I am proud. But I am also very sad, because I fear greatly that my daughter will grow up to be very lonely. Can you imagine what kind of choice of boyfriend/husband she is likely to have, unless God is especially kind to her, given the kind of contemporaries she is growing up with?

DEBARATI said...

Best wishes to Urbi. I didn't miss the opportunity to contribute in my own little way of encouraging her by being a follower of her blog.
May Life be kind to her and may she achieve all the success, love and admiration you have today, and even more.
My best wishes.