A Note in the Mail

Last month I wrote a short piece for the American Center Bulletin — a triple-fold, 4-page newsletter that gives American Center members updates on activities, future events and other news. It’s not anything glossy and there have been problems justifying its publication month after month. I wrote about Black History month, and wondered about the type of person who would read the newsletter. To be honest, it looks like those pamphlets in a doctor’s office that are placed next to badly outdated copies of People magazine.

Today I was pleasantly surprised to receive a small note card in the mail from a woman I didn’t know who had read my article. I’m reproducing it below because it provides some great insights into the older generation from this city.

House of Late S.K. —- (Advocate, High Court)

14.2.07

Dear Mr. FSOwalla,

This is just to express my appreciation for your Cassius Clay/Md. Ali story in the Newsletter — which I’ve read and enjoyed very much.

In fact, it reminded me of the Reader’s Digest first-person award stories I used to read as a child and sometimes, get inspired by. I would have even used this story to read to my B.A/B.Sc. compulsory English class — but for the (understandably) buoyant American tone! Thank you for a fine mini-read, though.

Incidentally in Calcutta, Black History has been not a flavour of the month — but a part of our nature, part of us. When I was a child, Mahalia Jackson came and sang in the St. Paul’s (I wasn’t in the audience, but the “Lord’s Prayer” video that I saw once stirred me, though I’m not a believer). Then, in 1972, The Dutchman was performed for the first time in Calcutta or anywhere in India for that matter — under the direction of Prof. Amitava Roy, unforgettably! Your list of books is all-inclusive and inspiring — but why forget Charles Johnson “The Middle Passage”? I’m sure you don’t mind my tiny complaint?

With best wishes & regards,

(Mrs.) T. —–

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