I do not own anything from my father, not even his photos. When I left home after completing medicine, Amma insisted that I can’t take anything that my father gave me ( things like my cassette collection, my hair dryer, even the plastic table cloth I used in the medical college, not that I was planning to take that anyway !) for they  belonged to the family and my sisters have a right to use them. It was time before computers and internet and I couldn’t take a copy of the family photos , not that we had much left after my older sister went through all the photos and cut her head out when she decided she didn’t want to be a part of the mad family and wiped all traces of her.

But I have lots of memories. When I want to think of my father, I just close my eyes and I can see him doing all the things he loved !

Last weekend, I attended  a jumble sale at a local church. I had given away my collection of  Sidney Sheldon books only to find my son suddenly developing a liking for Sidney Sheldon. I had kept my Sidney Sheldon collection for almost 10 years, Yaya didn’t like to read them nor did  my son and I needed the space. So I gave them away few months ago. During the last school holidays, my son found a copy of Sidney Sheldon’s book at the thrift shop and now wants to read all his books. Our local libraries don’t keep a copy of old books and I am now forced to go to all Charity events to get the books for him. As I was going  through  the books, I found a book I last saw when I was 4 years old.


End of 1975, my father had gone to Trivandrum for work and he bought few books from the Russian cultural center when he came back. Until then most of the books we owned were printed in India and the paper was not smooth, the printing was crappy and the binding was always coming lose. Where as the Russian books were beautifully illustrated and printed on smooth white paper that had a unique smell. It was like Manna from heaven. My father sat with me that day and read the stories for me. Although I didn’t understand a word of English, I never forgot the story of the little girl who went to collect mushrooms with her oldest sister and survived  by laying down on the railway track when the train came.

My parents considered my older sister to be the custodian of family treasure and gave those books to my sister for safe keeping. And my sister with such absolute power and responsibilities to be the keeper of the family heirloom never let me see those books again.

There were few more books my father bought that day. I remember the story of the boy who went to the market to by sausages and the illustration was a picture of the boy and a girl walking holding a basket of sausages and a dog following them eating the sausages from the basket.

If you own any of those Russian books from the 70’s and are willing to sell them, would you please mail me. daofto at gmail dot com.


22 thoughts on “Excited.

  1. oh my god! The thumbnail image seemed familiar and then when you mentioned the stories I was taken back to the time when I’d read them too. What a burst of nostalgia. Hope you find the book somehow, do upload a couple of images if you do. 🙂

  2. I have read one Russian book. But it is in malayalam, a translated one. “Nikithayude Balyam” story of a little boy named Nikitha.

  3. I read my first Sidney Sheldon when I was around 13. Discovered an old copy of ‘The Other Side of Midnight’ at home, and read it with the doors and windows closed, thoroughly intrigued. I think Sheldon is available in most book stores in India. Also remember reading Malayalam translations of Russian fairy-tales when I was a little kid. They were printed on flimsy paper and tied together with twine, so I don’t think any of it survived. Reading about them in your post has opened the floodgates of nostalgia. Not just for the stories, but for a simpler, innocent way of life that is a thing of the past. Thank god for memories! Anyways it was unfair of your mom to not let you keep what your father gave you. Congrats to your son on winning the elections.

    • anitha: I think the Mallu translations would have happened late 70’s to early 80’s. The English translations of Russian books were done in the USSR and was mostly a propaganda for Communist party. My friends in Sri Lanka tells me that they too used to get translated Russian stories in English. I really would like to find all those books. Amma always felt that I was given everything and didn’t deserve to be given any of those things. I was fairer and therefore prettier than chechy who was dark complexioned, so money should be spend to get better dresses for chechy, while I could use second hand. She even told me that I must divide the wedding jewellery I was given in to 4 and give a share to my sisters.

      • I think I got those story books in the late 80’s. I vaguely remember reading about princesses and witches. And were your sisters asked to divide their wedding jewelry in four?? Good luck for your exams.

  4. I have an online copy somewhere of malayalam translation of a Russian book..it’s called “kuttikathakalum chithrangalaum”..interested?

  5. Did you read Misha – the Russian magazine?

    A friend mentioned it recently – and that is when I remembered that I used to read it – I had completely forgotten about it. The pages, the print, the smell, … heavenly!

    • URT: No, I didn’t read Misha, What year was it? The name sounds familiar, I think my sisters would have read it. The last Russian book I read was in 1987, it was an English digest almost the same size as a readers digest and was called Sputnik. Glossy printed paper and lots of science based articles.

  6. I remember misha. Prabhath books had an outlet in kottayam near gandhi statue. 🙂

    Anyone remember “achente balyam” & theepakshy ?

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