I am a people’s person. I wouldn’t have been born but for the fact that my mother’s efficient gynaecologist used the Shirodkar Stitch to save me from being ejected out of her womb. I wouldn’t have been addicted to reading had my maternal uncle not taken me under his wings after my father died of a rheumatic heart when I was just two months old and introduced me to books soon after I was introduced to alphabets. I have always been surrounded by people—aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbours, friends, who took it upon themselves to mollycoddle me, embrace me as their own and touch my life in their special ways. My grandmother, a midget-sized towering woman, taught me all about casting spells in the kitchen and opening my heart and arms wide to give and receive love. My mother, the disciplinarian, ensured I explored rough terrain with all the safety checks in place and never went so far as to be out of her sight. One of my teachers, Mrs Shastri, spotted me on the street, soon after I received my SSC results, and spoke earnestly about why I should not follow the herd and join the Science stream, just because I had the requisite marks. She was more worried than I was that I would be wasting my linguistic talent in a laboratory dissecting frogs. If I write today, it’s because she ensured that I was aware of my ability to weave words into something fairly readable. At every step I have met people who’ve been like books for me to read, who have strewn their experiences for me to pick from, whose hands have gently guided me or whacked me, as was necessary, and who’ve carved an indelible place in the journey of my life. I believe that when you live, your story must be told. And I will narrate in this blog, stories about people who’ve crossed my path and those who I wish had. Those who live with me. Those who visit my house. Those whose voices I’ve heard but whose faces I’ve never seen. Those who wish me on my birthday. Those who forget to wish me but love me the most. Those who send me short one-line emails. And those who write long letters, which I love preserving. And there are those I haven’t met yet but hope to, some day. Writers, poets, vegetable vendors, house help, grocers, tailors, strangers… I will write about them, their idiosyncrasies, their goodness, their wickedness, their humaneness, their trials…I have to. Like Po Bronson, I love people.
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