Riyana: The Child Once Everyone Was: A Literary Biography

Riyana: The Child Once Everyone Was: A Literary Biography

by Saligrama K Aithal


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A book first of its kind in children's literature, RIYANA: THE CHILD ONCE EVERYONE WAS presents Riyana's biography from birth to three years and a half. Additionally, it gives a picture of every other child and helps parents and grandparents reminisce their own childhood. The author mixes facts with fiction; fiction with fairy-tale and myth; fact, fiction, fairy-tale and myth with philosophy and science to make reading his narrative enjoyable and worthwhile.
Who is Riyana? She is the author's little granddaughter, now close to 4 years. She is his friend and playmate. Yes, he becomes a child when she is around, and the two of them talk, sing, dance, and play like any two children. She does see his grey hair, wrinkled face, and slow motion, but once he explains to her that they are no serious matter, she trusts him and his words. He doesn't hesitate to discard his title, experience, accumulated wisdom, and grave voice. He becomes innocent like her, and becomes eager to learn everything all over again from the beginning. He assumed a new name initially for her sake - Nana Saligrama K. Aithal von Balgudi,--and she shortened it to Nana, and his friends also began to address him as Nana after her.
The matter of fact description barely does justice to the question "Who is Riyana?" On higher levels, she is more than a person to me. She is my friend, companion, advisor, guide, and teacher, --the best I have ever had. She is the nursery rhyme example of "sugar and spice and all that is nice," and more.
Once we are together, nothing can separate her from me. She cares little about her hunger and thirst. She ignores the repeated calls for her to come and take her meal. I slip away on such occasions to make her attend to the calls to reach her feeding table.
As I was transitioning to my second childhood, Riyana took birth and saved me from being a laughing-stock of the world, as is the common fate of those past seventy. In the course of three years, she has driven dullness and boredom out of my life and brought in love, joy and sunlight.
I have watched Riyana from her birth. The present narrative chronicles her birth and her early years episode by episode. It has been a joy to watch her grow from one day to the next. She has been a subject of my absorbing study.
Initially hesitant, Riyana gradually made bold to crawl into my "cave," with books and all kinds of things-broken computers, old audio and video sets, stationery materials, medicine bottles--spread around and hanging perilously on shelves. Once convinced of her safety and pleased by the warmth of the cave, her visits increased and the duration of these visits also lengthened until at last a great friendship developed between us.
We hear a lot about "Children First," reminding us that education and development of children should be our primary concern. While this rightly underlines our love and concern for our children, we should be careful to restrain the desire that accompanies anything we love-the desire for exclusive possession. The desire to possess children exclusively to oneself always has serious consequences for the children as well as the family. Our first duty is to prepare them to become citizens of the world. It is not a day too early to start world citizenship lessons.
Returning to "Children First," we must bear in mind that we have much to gain from children. They remind us of our own early joyful years in this wonderland and help us recapture what Wordsworth describes, "Heaven [that] lies about us in our infancy." A child has also great wisdom to impart to us and rightly deserves the poet's invocation "Mighty prophet! Seer blest!" The poet didn't exaggerate when he said this of a child.
As one reads the book, he/ she should be able to reminisce his/her own childhood in confirmation of what the title says RIYANA: THE CHILD ONCE EVERYONE WAS.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781533174406
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 06/12/2016
Pages: 80
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.19(d)

About the Author

SALIGRAMA K. AITHAL has previously published two volumes of short stories MANY IN ONE (2013) and ONE IN MANY (2013). INSIDE INDIA (2016) and OVERLAPPING WORLDS (2016) are two more collections of short stories under publication. Besides creative writing, Dr. Aithal has published articles on a wide range of authors and books--Indian, British, and American-- in scholarly international journals. He has edited a collection of essays on Northrop Frye (1993), and he has a book on Toni Morrison ready for publication. After a long tenure at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, Dr. Aithal moved to the US and he currently lives in a suburb of Washington, DC, and teaches English at universities/ colleges in the area whenever an opportunity comes his way. He has a doctoral degree in English from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA.

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