Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Maya Angelou's book is working wonders in me!

Maya Angelou's book 'A Letter to my Daughter' is one that I would love to treasure in my personal library. Any book lovers out there, if you chance upon Angelou's book, please do give it a try. You will never regret!

Angelou has only one child, a son, but dedicates her collection of essays and poems to thousands of her daughters all over the world, who share a common struggle for a life of equality and dignity.
This great Black American writer pointedly stirs us to think with conviction, feel ashamed of our follies and prejudices and above all be proud of our history and legacy. Many of her autobiographical anecdotes bring a genuine smile on our face. Angelou's simple and sincere writing style rings a note in all our hearts, regardless of whether we are Black or of any other ethnicity.

Her anger at having being wronged as a Black, and her strong sense of self esteem and pride, come through very beautifully in each page. I am sure our own Dalits, the untouchables of the dark old days, who in many states continue to be treated the same,will be able to draw strength from this book to look down upon their oppressors with disdain and live with dignity and a worthwhile goal.

Angelou talks about being a daughter, a mother, a friend, a segregated Black, a writer, a teacher, and a good human being, with poise and a truly motherly love, without any smackings of self pity or a vindictive attitude. And that's what makes you want to go back into the pages of this book again and again. Maya's subtle humour evokes a quick chuckle from us and forces us to reflect on our own wanton opinions and self righteous actions in a fresh light. Her take on myriad topics such as art, vulgarity, rape, humility, faith, parenthood and foriegn cultures, are uncomplicated and sound more like a casual conversation with a friend. Yet her ideas are fresh and straight out her heart.

Her address to new graduates takes me back to my own Convocation day. Her fears of failing as a mother, as she struggles to juggle work and care for her son, ring a shrill bell. Angelou's ideas of faith and being a true Christian touches a raw nerve somewhere in my heart. I feel a kinship with the writer as I read about her self-doubt in her writing abilities. Maya Angelou takes a mundane subject or experience and sprinkles them with profound lessons.

This book will always be to me a source of sustenance from which I can draw courage in the wake of vicissitudes, inspiration in the thick of boredom, and direction in the face of disappointments.

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