Unforgettable Memories

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Author: Ananda Patnaik
Pages: 316
Year of Publication: 2009
Price: HB Rs 500, FB Rs 300
HB 81-8157-939-3 (8181579393)
FB 81-8157-940-9 (8181579409)About the Author:
Ananda Patnaik has a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics and taught Mathematics at the graduate and post-graduate levels under the government of Orissa and Utkal University. She retired in 1998. As a student, and even later when she was working, she dreamed of being a writer – a dream she has been able to realize after her retirement. She has now published five collections of short stories, one novel and two books of translations. Ananda lives in Cuttack with her husband, her son and his family.

“The very first memory of my childhood is when I was about four years old and was being initiated into the process of learning.

Early in the morning I had an oil bath, wore new clothes and sat before a pandit, who performed puja. A little oil lamp made up of burnt clay (diya) was lit, while the pandit chanted mantras. I was given a new slate and had to write the first two letters of the vernacular (Oriya) alphabet on it. My father held my hand as he guided me to write the letters using a soft white stone, the equivalent of chalk. A conch shell was blown loud and clear.

The neighbours came over on hearing the sound. They were talking loud enough to be heard. “Whoever heard of a girl studying? Here boys don’t even go to school,” shouted one of them so that we could hear him.

Those were the days before independence. Life was slow. People had enough to eat. In the villages they didn’t think beyond that. Girls were married off by the time they were fifteen or sixteen at most. It was thought to be much better to let them learn home-making and cooking. If they studied up to classes five or six it was more than enough.”

[From Chapter One]

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