ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Why Remember, Why Tell?

A reluctant memoirist reflects on the challenges of the genre in India, the disclosure of sexual abuse in/to the family, and why a public telling matters.

An abridged version of this article appeared in the print edition.


When my father died in the summer of 2014, following a diagnosis of liver cirrhosis, my tears would not run. He was an extraordinarily gifted, charismatic man. But he had courted death for years, and I had hardened my heart to let him go. Then, our unfinished conversations began to haunt me. I wanted to tell my father about how bountiful, but difficult his love was. About chronic sadness, his and mine. I wanted to tell him of the shattered spaces between childhood and adulthood that I had walked for years, unaccompanied. As I was writing all this out, a long conversation with a dead parent that I had no intention of sharing with anyone, let alone publishing, death came visiting again. This time, it was a beloved animal companion, a beautiful black Labrador who had walked a complicated life journey with me, who had fought very hard to keep me in the world when I was ready to leave for good. I then understood something about how my words had swaddled my grief, how memories that cut to the bone can also salve, how forgiveness is not about letting go or making peace, but acknowledging to what, or why we had held on with anger or sorrow.

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Updated On : 19th Apr, 2021
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