How I Taught My Grandmother To Read And Other Stories PDF

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How I Taught My Grandmother To Read And Other Stories

When I was a girl of about twelve, I used to stay in a village in north Karnataka with my grandparents. Those days, the transport system was not very good, so we used to get the morning paper only in the afternoon.

The weekly magazine used to come one day late. All of us would wait eagerly for the bus, which used to come with the papers, weekly magazines, and the post.

At that time, Triveni was a very popular writer in the Kannada language.

She was a wonderful writer. Her style was easy to read and very convincing. Her stories usually dealt with complex psychological problems in the lives of ordinary people and were always very interesting.

Unfortunately for Kannada literature, she died very young. Even now, after forty years, people continue to appreciate her novels.

One of her novels, called Kashi Yatre, was appearing as a serial in the Kannada weekly Karmaveera then. It is the story of an old lady and her ardent desire to go to Kashi or Varanasi.

Most Hindus believe that going to Kashi and worshipping Lord Vishweshvara is the ultimate Punya.

This old lady also believed in this, and her struggle to go there was described in that novel. In the story there was also a young orphan girl who falls in love but there was no money for the wedding.

In the end, the old lady gives away all her savings without going to Kashi. She says, ‘The happiness of this orphan girl is more important than worshipping Lord Vishweshwara at Kashi.’

My grandmother, Krishtakka, never went to school so she could not read. Every Wednesday the magazine would come and I would read the next episode of this story to her.

During that time she would forget all her work and listen with the greatest concentration. Later, she could repeat the entire text by heart.

My grandmother too never went to Kashi, and she identified herself with the novel’s protagonist.

So more than anybody else she was the one most interested in knowing what happened next in the story and used to insist that I read the serial out to her.

After hearing what happened next in Kashi Yatre, she would join her friends at the temple courtyard where we children would also gather to play hide and seek.

She would discuss the latest episode with her friends. At that time, I never understood why there was so much of debate about the story.

Once I went to a wedding with my to the neighboring village. In those days, a wedding was a great event.

We children enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. We would eat and play endlessly, savoring the freedom because all the elders were busy. I went for a couple of days but ended up staying there for a week.

When I came back to my village, I saw my grandmother in tears. I was surprised, for I had never seen her cry even in the most difficult situations. What had happened? I was worried.

‘Avva, is everything all right? Are you ok?’

I used to call her Avva, which means mother in the Kannada spoken in north Karnataka. She nodded but did not reply.

I did not understand and forgot about it. In the night, after dinner, we were sleeping in the open terrace of the house. It was a summer night and there was a full moon.

Avva came and sat next to me. Her affectionate hands touched my forehead. I realized she wanted to speak. I asked her, ‘What is the matter?’

‘When I was a young girl I lost my mother. There was nobody to look after and guide me.

My father was a busy man and got married again. In those days people never considered education essential for girls, so I never went to school. I got married very young and had children.

I became very busy. Later I had grandchildren and always felt so much happiness in cooking and feeding all of you. At times I used to regret not going to school, so I made sure that my children and grandchildren studied well…’

I could not understand why my sixty-two-year-old grandmother was telling me, a twelve-year-old, the story of her life in the middle of the night.

But I knew I loved her immensely and there had to be some reason why she was talking to me. I looked at her face. It was unhappy and her eyes were filled with tears.

She was a good-looking lady who was usually always smiling. Even today I cannot forget the worried expression on her face. I leaned forward and held her hand.

Avva, don’t cry. What is the matter? Can I help you in any way?” ‘Yes, I need your help. You know when you were away, Karmaveera came as usual.

AuthorSudha Murty
Language English
No. of Pages70
PDF Size0.5 MB

How I Taught My Grandmother To Read PDF Free Download

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