On my previous trip to India, to visit my grandma, she gave me her diary which she started in the 1940s as a teenager – before her mum died, before she found love, before she had children. Her letters are some of the most beautiful words I have ever read and although my feminism muscle starts throbbing reading a few entries, they are truly a reflection of her time. For a girl who lived in a non-English speaking Indian city, her written English is amazing.
This is one of her first entries that I thought I’d share:
This is a letter she wrote to a Mr. Francis Comel in 1943 (at the age of 16).
Dear Mr Francis Comel,
I am right glad to see your name in the Gazette. You have been placed in the First Division. I offer you my heartiest congratulations on the result you have made. O, how my heart leaps with joy!
May I ask what you intend on doing?
I must insist on the further prosecution of your studies. What is your father’s intention?
But everything depends upon your own inclination. Perhaps my desire is yours.