(My daughter Swati is more than my life)
– Ali Peter John
On this New Year’s Day, which is an auspicious day for many, but like any other day for me, I want to make a sincere confession and that I have been a fool and a fool who goes about life. I know little or nothing and who is blessed to know everything about love.
I first learned that I could write good English when in 9th grade my class teacher, Mr. Linus Cerejo, called me to class and said, “What English do you write, man, dha dha dha”. The whole class looked at me as if I had committed a crime but did not know that my teacher was giving me the first big compliment in my life. I continued to write and the next time I was commended for my writing in English, Professor MY Khan wrote “excellent” and “extraordinary” in my English tutorial book. When I first fell in love, I wrote a piece titled “The End of the Road” and it was something I didn’t show anyone, not even the girl I was loved and who went to connect with her God. Which she loved more than any human or any other creature.
That is, I feel that the writer started in me and I continued to write whenever and wherever possible. I wrote on the back and front of my palms and on each finger, and sometimes even on my stomach. I wrote on bus tickets, train tickets and plane tickets, and I wrote in some remote Muslim cemeteries, in the offices of motor driving schools, and even in distant gardens where I could find solitude and the rush of trains— Could write in packed boxes. And when traveling by bus. My mother, who once saw me writing, also assumed that I had gone mad and asked the priests to pray for me and pray for me, but no one could stop my madness.
I started out writing for the screen and some local newspapers and church bulletins, but I was first recognized when I wrote a fictional article on my newborn daughter, without knowing what it meant to be a daughter. I was so creative in school that I even made my own algebra and wrote 8 pages of what I thought was algebra and my math teacher Mr. Durando was so impressed by my self-discovery algebra that he displayed my answer sheet in front of the whole class. Key and said “This guy has done his algebra and has written 8 pages in which he just added and subtracted a formula but I can’t help it, I’m giving him a big zero.” The ambition was the end of what I had to do. Anything with math, but that’s another story. I still don’t understand one thing about maths and to add to my sadness, now I have my mobile which is very loyal to me but I am not because I am not the head or tail of all the so called apps can make and other things that my friends say is a great blessing to them…
Let me not hold back to write about my only daughter, Swati, although I know she would not like to write about me, when I used to admire her when she got excellent marks. school or college.
Swati was born in Bhabha Hospital, Bandra in the maternity hospital of my wife’s boss Dr. CF Barfiwala. I had only heard about labor pains, but that evening when I took Usha (who would later become my wife) to the maternity hospital, I not only realized what those labor pains were, but I hopped in the cab. Shedding many tears. Swati was born as a caesarean baby and when I was told about her birth, I reached the maternity hospital, I was shocked to see the mother and the baby lying down with eyes closed but the nurses told me they were fine . I told the nurses that I would come back after sometime and reached the nearest Brijwasi sweet shop and bought 5 kg of barfi and distributed barfi in my village Kondivata and when people passed comments like “Yeh why sweets are being distributed” I Shocked”? and “Does someone make sweets when the daughter pays?” I took two hoots to what people said and went back to the hospital to see both mother and baby safe and sound. I welcomed the baby all the way home and I had already decided to name him Swati, which meant a rare star.
Swati had to spend the first three years of her life with her grandparents in Kondivita and I used to visit them once a week on Thursdays with all kinds of gifts for which I was thrown out by the people around. “What will this little kid do with all the gifts you bring week after week?” Swati’s grandmother would ask me every week but I couldn’t stop buying her as many gifts as she could.
It was time for Swati to go to school and I wanted her to be admitted to the best school in the area, Divine Child High School for Girls, which was also the school where Madhuri Dixit studied. The nun of the school told me that I could not take admission for Swati as she was from a different area. I was worried, but I also knew how to please the nun. It was a fair organized by nuns and I knew they wanted a film star to inaugurate the fair and I spoke to my friends Anil Kapoor and Deepti Naval and they agreed to be the chief guest at the inauguration. The way the nuns and teachers and students reacted, I knew I would no longer have a big problem getting Swati admitted to the school.
Swati had to appear for an examination in front of the principal, Sister Senior Genevieve, who asked Swati only one question and that was, “What is this?” and the nun showed her a banana and Swati who was otherwise very bright , could not tell the nun that it was a banana. I thought she had lost her chance of getting admission in the school, but when the list was put, I saw Swati’s name at the top. This was the beginning of Swati’s schooling days and she was always known as the bright girl who never complained or cries. But when she was in 9th standard she came to me and told me she didn’t want to study in that convent school and told me to get her admitted to a school near our house and it was only three months to leave. ssc exam. I spoke to my friend Shabnam Kapoor, whose brother was the principal of Children’s Welfare High School and the principal said that he could admit her if she was promised that she would score more than 70 per cent in the board exam. I gave her that promise, Swati got 75 percent marks and then she was again admitted to Sophia college for girls run by nuns and after the first year, she said she wanted to change and she did another good college, He took admission in Ruparel College. in Dadar and she came out with secret.
When she was sixteen, she told me that she wanted to take up a job and I only asked my friend Anupam Kher to take her as an apprentice in his company and Anupam adopted her and she was one of them. One came out. Anupam Kher’s best assistant who wanted her to remain but Swati wanted to specialize in writing. I admitted her to Subhash Ghai’s writing department and she was brainstorming with Ghai and his team of writers like Ram Kelkar, Sachin Bhowmik, Kamlesh Pandey and other writers and all of them made him a very talented writer. which was a master of both English and Hindi but Swati was not very enthusiastic with the kind of work that was being done. Then she joined Balaji Telefilms, which she left within 3 days because she saw the boss kicking her employees when she wanted to do something or when they were tired and sleeping.
Swati then wanted to try her talent in the media and was lucky to get her first job as a reporter in the Indian Express, the company I worked for forty-eight years, but she never asked for my help or used my name. did not do. When she went for a job interview. From Indian Express she went to Midday where she was appointed Head of Health Affairs and from Midday she wanted to try television media and joined Times Now where she made a name for herself by interviewing celebrities and especially film stars. I got a call from actress Tanuja one evening and she asked, “Kya re Ali, teri koi beti bhi hai, tu told nahi.” And before I could say anything, she said, “Toofan hai storm, tu kuch Not even in front of him” And to be honest, I have never felt so much happiness in my life.
But she also had time to fall in love with a flamboyant young man named Robin Singhvi and before she could land another job, she was in Denver, USA with her husband and before I knew what she was really doing. I heard one of my friends told me that Swati had made a documentary called “We the People” which became very popular especially among immigrants in America. She didn’t have a work permit and was lucky to return home four days ago before the great prime minister roared on TV, “You guys sit where you are” and it was the beginning of one lockdown after another. However this did not stop the adventurous spirit in Swati and she joined a content creation company and is now the creative head of the company even though she works from home.
I have just received the good news of being the author and producer of a documentary film about women farmers in Maharashtra, for which she and her team have been declared winners of the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism. Goenka was the founder of the Indian Express, where I worked for forty-eight years. And see how the wheel completes with Swati receiving the coveted award in the name of Ramnath Goenka, who gave a new direction and mission to journalism in India, which seems to be in danger these days..
I know I am reacting as a father, but I also know that the world will soon be proud of his achievements. And my only wish for Swati is to let her mother Usha know the value of what her younger daughter has achieved. And therein lies the will to conquer what is still called the world of man. Jug jug jio my daughter, you still have many more skies to go through and my best wishes and blessings will always be with you wherever you are and however you are. And what shall I say about you my daughter?