A letter to Jhumpa Lahiri
Dear Jhumpa mam,
I was in a fix as to how I should address you. Addressing you as Jhumpa Lahiri would have been disrespectful while calling you Miss Jhumpa or Miss Lahiri would be too impersonal for my liking. So I thought of settling for Jhumpa mam, not only because I find it adequately respectful and satisfyingly intimate, but also because whenever I talk to you in my mind, I always call you Jhumpa mam. I don't know why I like calling you by this name. Perhaps, it makes me feel closer to you in a way we never will be. Or maybe, this is how I like to address all the women teachers in my life.
This is a good time to disclose that I have found a teacher in you and you a student in me. In your writings, I chose to seek shelter one day and have ever since been learning under your tutelage. The way you manipulate words to extort emotions out of them, you never realized that you breathed life in them. In turn, they mothered a writer in me and breathed life into it.
From you Jhumpa mam, I have learnt how to explore human relationships. My story 'A mama's boy' and 'The lady who loved tea too much' are as much yours as they are mine. It's only fitting that you have a copy of them and see if your student has done a passable job or not.
I may not get another opportunity to meet you. But I leave you with this letter and a couple of my stories in the hope that you remember me through my words, just the way I shall live my life through yours.
If possible, please write to me. Will wait in hope.
Lots of love
*I gave this letter to author Jhumpa Lahiri when I met her that evening on 23rd January, 2014*