Friday, 24 March 2017


I had started my formal education, or rather formal schooling, in 4th standard. Being the eldest male member of a new generation in the family, I was slated for reciting Vedas, performing Poojas and other religious rituals and was not meant to go to school. But luckily when I was around 8, my Grandpa allowed me to go to school, with a lot of persuasion from my uncle.
It was like opening the door to a new world for me. Though academically I was ok since I was having home tuitions for almost past six or seven years, there were a lot of new things out there to learn, there were lot of new friends to be made and I could just grab at the opportunity.

One high point of my first year of schooling was the drama. The school every year celebrated the annual day and there were cultural programs by children and teachers. There were dances by girl students, some traditional folk arts by boys and in the end there would be a drama by students and then a drama by teachers.
I was selected for the drama. I don't exactly remember the story, but I remember that I acted as an old man from a lower caste. I did not tell anyone about it because if Grandpa came to know about it, there was every possibility that my schooling would end there. Somehow the next day after the  programme, he came to know of it, probably through servants. The only comment he made was, ‘At least they should have made him an old ‘Nambudiri !'

Many of my new friends started telling me that acting in drama should be the most suitable profession for me. I probably started believing that myself and I started telling my friends that I would be an actor.

This was of course, an infatuation to a particular profession. Yes, this was a phase in my life, where I got a desire to become an actor. Soon I wanted to become a soccer player after hearing the running commentaries of soccer matches from the radio. Then when I read a good short story by the some great authors, I wanted to become a short story-writer. When I read a good poetry, I wanted to become a poet. When I saw a good Kathakali performance, I wanted to become a Kathakali artist. Likewise at different times, I wanted to become a bus driver, bus conductor, a policeman etc. etc.
At the time I started schooling, I had started going to the library in the evenings after school hours. I got interested in detective novels in small paperbacks and then I wanted to become a detective. As I didn’t know how to go about it, I thought I will start by writing a few detective novels.

Well, I did write. It was all done secretly. My first detective novel was ready for the publisher. I had noted down the address of the publisher. I put my novel, all of 15 pages, in an envelope which I made from white paper, wrote the From and To addresses and put it in the post box. No, I did not put any stamp as I did not have any money to buy the stamp and obviously couldn’t ask anyone.
Anyway, the next day the postman brought back the envelope and gave it to my uncle. Everyone in the family had a good laugh at my expense and my aspirations to become a writer were put laid to rest.

All these memories rushed to my mind, when Isaw the message from my daughter that my grandson – 6 years – had declared that he was writing a book and would be selling it! All the best to you……

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