Flashback. Mumbai Mirror Article


My destiny was set when I was six months old.

At my annaprashan ceremony, I sat on my father’s lap and reached out for the one object that would define me today. A pen. Later, when I was trying my hand at filmmaking, my father reminded me that I was wasting my talent and my future was already fixed. How I embraced it, and where I went from there, was my choice.

The annaprashan ceremony or `mukhe bhaat’ that we Bengalis call it, is the first time a child is fed rice. The six month old sits on an elder’s lap, is first blessed and then fed solid food like kheer. It’s followed by a game where the child has to touch one of the symbolic objects placed on a silver plate. The plate has books – symbolizing he’s going to be a philosopher or a very learned man, jewels or coins representing he’ll be a businessman, a pen – signifying wisdom through writing, and grass or soil indicating he’ll be one with the people or a politician. The plate is held up for the child. And his profession is determined by what he touches. 

I didn’t know it at six months, but what kept me sane throughout my life was a diary I penned every night for twenty years. I wrote poems and articles in spiral bound notebooks, my pen being my precious possession. But, I was too inhibited to publish anything. When I finally embraced my destiny, I wrote my debut novel Losing My Virginity And Other Dumb Ideas. The opening chapter I wrote with a pen, sitting in a café and understanding that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

There are some Indian traditions that need to be passed from one generation to another. I’m glad my daughter touched the book at her annaprashan ceremony. I’ll remind her to be wise later!

Comments

selly satpathy said…
wow.....nice post :)
we odias have also this tradition of annaprashan ceremony, but the game doesn't follow it. But it is quite sweet way to predict your destiny .
akshara vipin said…
I never knew such ceremonies exist but this was a shock to me...that we can select our destiny this way
Bijan Talukdar said…
you are indeed a true example of predetermination of fate or future . I think choice of an object in "mukhebhat" if determines the future habit of one (taking yours example as a reference), then we must carefully look down upon our children about the particular of his / her choice of field , before we force him to do something that is not a choice. Let the choice of field may be determined at a very low level by the school teachers, parents and then direct the child on a very right track. Things will change a lot.
I appreciate your view that you touched a pen at an age of six months and you are now a famous writer.
correct me if I made any mistake.
Bijan Talukdar said…
you are indeed a true example of predetermination of fate or future . I think choice of an object in "mukhebhat" if determines the future habit of one (taking yours example as a reference), then we must carefully look down upon our children about the particular of his / her choice of field , before we force him to do something that is not a choice. Let the choice of field may be determined at a very low level by the school teachers, parents and then direct the child on a very right track. Things will change a lot.
I appreciate your view that you touched a pen at an age of six months and you are now a famous writer.
correct me if I made any mistake.

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