A grandmother, who lives away from her two grandchildren from two sons, writes the story of her childhood for them. Separated by two generations and innumerable changes the childhood she had was a subject of fairy tales for the children of today. To tell them how they lived in big joint families and how vacations meant visiting grandparents and other relatives is something that kids would relate to more if they hear it from their granny rather than from a third person. That is When your Granny was a little Girl by Manju Dasgupta is all about.
In a very short story, with the help of some beautiful illustrations, Manju tells about the life of kids before independence. How festivals were celebrated. How everyone used to live in harmony oblivious to the religion of the neighbors. Even when the boundaries of caste were discreetly drawn and accepted by all. She talks about the houses in various localities in Kolkata. She talks about the extended family with references to people the kids know. And she talks about the food. Many kids take the time to realize that their parents and grandparents were also kids like them a few years back. And it is a good grounding to give them that we all go through the same stages of life.
I loved the section where she speaks about the Bengal famine, riots, and partition. It is like hearing a first-hand account of the subjects that we read in textbooks. I remember nothing left a bigger impact on me than my grandmother’s description of the partition. And how people especially women were treated. I have read many books, articles on the subject. Seen some movies about them, but it is her voices that describe that horrible time for me. For it came first hand from someone who is my own. Another memorable moment that author mentions are when she met Mahatma Gandhi as a small girl just a year before he passed away. Now for kids to know that their Granny actually met the great man is the matter of pride.
The aftertaste that this book When your Granny was a little Girl, left me wondered why my grandmother did not leave a book like this for me. If you have children and grandchildren, take inspiration from this book. And write your lives, the high and low points it has seen and the flavor of your times for your next generations.
Read it and if possible write something like this.
Buy this book – When your Granny was a little Girl by Manju Dasgupta.
Manju Auntie, thank you for giving me this book When your Granny was a little Girl. I would always treasure this.