My earliest memories are of my Grandmother telling us stories after dinner. She loves to read – in fact she reads in 4 languages, Odiya, Bengali, Hindi & English. Puts me to shame for I can read in only one – English. Have almost forgotten how to read my own mother tongue – Odiya though I gave my matriculation exam in Odiya as my second language.
Be that as it may, I owe my love of reading to my grand mother, Manorama Satpathy, nee Mishra. She is the daughter of a great Teacher. Her father was a Freedom Fighter and a great Teacher, a man who went against the norm and educated every girl child he could, including my Grand Mother. Just a couple of months ago I had the privilege to hear from one of his proteges – a Lady who is today one of the Leading Doctors in Odisha, a leader in her field. And she attributes her success to this old man in the early to mid 20th Century when he insisted that all his “girls” “Learn”. A visionary that the world has forgotten. But he lives on in our memory.
And in my love of the written word.
And in that of my children for I hope I have passed on his legacy to them. My eldest, my daughter, is a poet, and my son writes prose. That, to me is a tribute to her and his legacy.
My grand mother is in her Nineties now. She still loves to read. And I never visit her in my parent’s home in Bhubaneswar without a new book for her. For I know what she will ask after she has done kissing & hugging me!
“Did you bring me a Book?” 🙂
I always do. She is mine. My Grand Mother.
She lost her husband of 70+ years in November 2013. She has lost her 2 youngest sons. Only her eldest – my father – and her 2 daughters remain. I held her in my arms as she cried her heart out when my father told her in January 2018 that her second child – my uncle – was dead. And I helped cremate my uncle. It was one of the toughest times of my life. I had to come back home and tell her that he has been cremated and hold her while she cried.
My Grand Mother!