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.