I introspected for a while “Should I pen this bizarre experience or not?” After skimming through a few pages of Jaishree Misra’s novel, Ancient Promises, I found myself prescient and pulsing with the power to pen this enigmatic event. Something befell quite incidentally and accidentally a couple of days back. I was bestowed with the opportunity to participate in an online Global Literature Festival. I recited my poem in the fete and fortunately, I became the recipient of Youth Award 2020. It is a matter of immense delight for me to bag an award for a poem, as poetry is never my fete. Though I have participated and won prizes in essay writing, elocution and short story writing competitions, I have never tried my talent in writing verses on a competitive platform. I am extremely grateful to the organizers and the jury who recognized my work. I thank my family, friends, and well-wishers on this momentous occasion. And of course, Ezhimala, the land of Seven Hills that invoked the real muse in me to pen “A Warrior’s Musings”. In a way, it is a tribute or parting gift to the land that sensed and touched me wholeheartedly. My hopes, dreams, desires, calms, storms, pleasures, and pains of life are intertwined at my 7-imala. Our hamlet forever remains special in the life of Sujeeth and me. It’s time for our next sojourn in the odyssey of life.
Oh! Wait a second! I have not come to that bizarre event so far. Putting an end to my digressions, let me cite that puzzling incident and the person here. My parents were brimming with bliss on hearing this news. I am forever indebted to them for their impetus in all the hemispheres of my entity. As usual, my Achan (Father) was so thrilled to hear this award news. He watched the YouTube video countless times. He has the habit of reading my articles and stories too and at times offers, some constructive creative thoughts to see a “better to the best writer version of me”. As he does not have the habit of sharing our accomplishments in WhatsApp or mere book of faces, he did not bother to do so. The very next day after the award declaration, he happened to see my photo and YouTube Video in a so-called family group of ‘kins’ run by a relative from Chennai. I have only the faint memories of that person whom I have seen only a handful of times in my life. I am not even sure whether he is a close relative or he happens to be called a relative based on mere blood ties. I am not aware of it. Along with my photo and the YouTube Video, he has given a comment saying the global organization that gave me this honour is nothing. Above all, he has mocked me with a statement “You deserve a Pulitzer”. This really put me in knots. I was wondering neither me nor my Achan has informed or asked anybody to appreciate me. I am not dying for it any from ‘kins’ of mere sound and fury signifying absolutely nothing. And, Pulitzer? I took the word as well as the award, Pulitzer in a positive sense and I can utter proudly that I am a die-hard fan of the Pulitzer Prize winner, Jhumpa Lahiri and I have literally buried myself in her creative meanderings. Like Lahiri, I often feel that I also live in the periphery; the periphery of relations, the periphery of hierarchy, the periphery of socioeconomic status, and the periphery of belonging. I was brought up in a humble family and my parents strived hard to raise my sister and me. I can proudly say to these ‘kins’ that my parents have set our wings to fly and grab our dreams. Their sweat has made me attain a Dr. prefix and my sister is the one in the queue now. Like the so-called Chennai relative, my parents never got a chance to learn in ICSE schools. I also studied in a government school like my parents and I was fortunate to obtain seats in Central Universities and finish my higher studies from there. The same holds true in my sister’s case. My Father can never exhibit any English writing talent or competition in the group of ‘kins’, unlike his blood relatives do in that narrow WhatsApp group. My parents are not engineers, doctors, professors, or bank managers. As I come from a middle-class family, I always stand in the lower layer of hierarchy. An engineer’s son studying in a cashew factory turned engineering college is acceptable, a doctor’s daughter in the making of a doctor by donating lakhs and lakhs in a private college is acceptable. These are my acceptable relatives of higher status in society. But, Why not a person like me from a family of lower social and economic status? I still remember those humiliating relatives who used to ask my parents “Why to send girls outside Kerala for learning Arts subjects? Didn’t they get admission in college here?” People are aware of IITs and AIIMs but I think they are yet to be enlightened of Central Universities and other academic centres of excellence.
Some people can only act as the Carnifex of our thoughts and emotions just like this ‘kin’. When they behave strangely to us than strangers, many people do walk to our life cheering and gearing us up. Relations are never defined by so-called blood ties. Some bonds transcend all the relations of the mere namesake. I wish to be with them who accept me for what I am and not based on my bank balance, beauty, or economic status. Like me, all of you have come across some strange avatars like this ‘kin’. Whatever happens, don’t give a damn and just move on. Life is too full of shocking suspense and surprise. This incident in a way has enhanced me to drench in the world of words. Sticks and stones will be thrown only on fruit-bearing plants. When I write this on Kerala Piravi day of November 1, a plethora of emotions occupy my mind. It is our life, our choice and nobody else can make us go down unless and until we accept and follow that. Once again I realize, it is better to have motivating enemies than demotivating relatives. We can prosper and better through healthy competitions but not through the destructive criticism of demotivating relatives. It’s time for me to take a deep breath and dream of Pulitzer winners. Hehe! They do inspire, unlike any demotivating relatives. It’s time to usher a new world of wonders to my wandering words.
Dr Aparna Ajith
Dr. Aparna Ajith is a bilingual writer who loves to dwell in the world of words. She has completed her PhD in English from Central University of Rajasthan. Her area of specialization is Comparative Literature and Translation Studies. Her interest lies in Creative writing, Gender, Diaspora, Film and Culture studies. She holds a Master degree in English Literature (UGC- NET qualified) from University of Hyderabad (2012) and Post Graduate Diploma degree in Communication and Journalism from Trivandrum Press Club (2014), Kerala. She has presented papers in national and international conferences. She has published articles in journals and edited anthologies of national and international repute. She serves as the honorary representative of Kerala state in the advisory council of Indian Youth Parliament, Jaipur Chapter since 2015.Being a freelance journalist, she has translated and written articles for the Information and Public Relations Department, Government of Kerala.