Life after SEA OF POPPIES: Students lead Deeti, Kalua and Neel into the future

February 14, 2012 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

 

 

Dear Mr Ghosh

I am Prema Raghunath of Chennai (Madras). Needless to add, I am a great admirer of your writing. I was at the launch of your book River of Smoke in Madras in May last year, when you were in conversation with Mr Gopal Gandhi and you even signed my copy!

However, that’s not what I’m writing about: I also teach at an IB school in Madras and one of the texts we are reading as part of the course is Sea of Poppies. My students have absolutely loved it and are completely absorbed in the lives of Deeti. Kalua, Neelratan and the others. This morning we had an IOP as part of the examining process and I thought I must share with you two of the students’ expositions. One spoke as Kalua and said after reaching land, he decided he could not live without Deeti and went back to India in search of Kabutari. They both then set sail to Mauritius, but on the way disaster struck. Their ship capsized and Kabutari went down with the ship. Kalua managed to escape and went on to Mauritius and found Deeti had delivered their child, but he had to break the sad news to her. However the birth of the child, a girl, made the grief bearable. The second played the part of Neelratan and went on to say that when he got on to the lifeboat and they rowed away from the Ibis, the darkness seemed to serve as a reminder of his own darkness, the fact that he had been a weak exploiter of those who loved him best and a lame sycophant of those who used him worst.As the dark sky was illumined by flashes of lightning, and as they rowed further and further away, his past seemed to be slipping away. The only saving grace was the presence of Ah-Fatt : the trials of the past months, the betrayal of Elokeshi and the machinations of Mr Burnham, all culminating in his imprisonment and exile, had made him more determined than ever to return as promised to his wife and son. It had been his utter humiliation that had taught him true grit in relationships and come back he would to show his wife and son the new Neelratan.

These are seventeen year-olds and I found the whole experience very moving and thought I must tell you, the author, how much your writing means not only as exemplars of fine fiction but also as inspiration to young Indians. As a reader, I have greatly enjoyed all your books but here is another slant you may be glad to hear of.

I must hasten to add that this is just an oral exam and in no way published, and is merely the imagination of the students. I got this email id from your home page- I do hope you get it and reply so that I can read it out to my class.

Thanks and warm regards


Prema
Head of English

M Ct M Chidambaram Chettyar International School
Mylapore, Chennai 600 004
India

Dear Prema Raghunath
Thank you so much for this wonderful letter. It’s really gratifying to know that your students have responded to ‘Sea of Poppies’ in this way. Please do congratulate them for me, and please let them know that I was delighted and impressed by their ideas.
Would you mind if I posted the letter on my blog?
With my best wishes

Amitav Ghosh

Dear Mr Ghosh
Thank you for your prompt reply – I was hoping to hear from you but
not like this.
Yes, of course you can post this letter on your blog, I am sure  my
students will be delighted and honoured, as I am. By the way, their
names are Aditya Govindaraj and Regi Ramanathan.
Can I read this out in the assembly on Monday?
May I know who Mr Munshi is?
Thanks and regards
Prema

 

 

Dear Ms Raghunath

You are welcome to read my letter out. Please do tell Aditya and Regi that I was deeply touched by their engagement with my book. They obviously have  a great deal of talent and I hope they will cultivate it.

With my best wishes

 Amitav

p.s.: Shri A.K.Munshi is my virtual assistant.


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