Photos:The scenes and people who inspired Dr.Venu Sanon
was a lonely child, growing up in a large colonial bungalow, surrounded by sprawling lawns, gardens and orchards. A national highway bordered the house on two sides and an ancient church of red bricks, called the Lal Girija, with sad and forlorn grounds, was the only other neighbour. The church seemed desolate for most of the week, coming alive with the sound of the church organ and a choir singing hymns in Hindustani, only on Sundays. There was an amazing treasure of books in the study at home. I guess that is where my writings germinated. My childhood was spent happily in the comforting company of books, amidst sprawling lawns and orchards and a profusion of flowers. Sunday afternoons in winter would be spent in the guava orchards, sitting below one of the low guava trees, on a carpet of fallen leaves, with a book in hand. Sometimes, I would doze off with half-read tales from Greek mythology feeding my imagination. Pluto, Prosperina, Narcissus, all would come to life in the magical arena of the mind. I would dream and I guess dreams are the stuff poetry is made of! My father had an incredible association with trees, plants, ferns, hedges â€“ anything green. Our garden was a virtual tropical paradise. Fruit trees flourished in the orchards, the vegetable gardens displayed a profusion of edible wealth, the rose gardens were a riot of colour and the easter-lilies bloomed with an amazing brilliance, spilling all over the edges of the narrow flower beds. As for me, I accepted these gifts of natural wealth very easily. I took them
for granted. They were a part and parcel of my home, my family and my thoughts. However, I must confess that there is a genetic predisposition to my imaginative streak as well. My mother, a practising doctor, had all the time in the world for us. She was an amazing storyteller. Her tales were unique, creations of a fertile imagination, exhibited and related with great artistry. She could spin tales that carried on in a sequence for months on end.The characters would miraculously come to life in her voice and we would listen spell-bound, totally mesmerised by the magic of her words! I guess this was one of the subconscious influences on my writings. My love and compassion for life soon showed me my destined path. I became a doctor and with marriage, shifted to Mussoorie â€“ a small hill-station nestled in the foot-hills of the Himalayas. I was enchanted by the sheer abundance of natural beauty in my new home. Mussoorie was a living poem. Sunlit skies would darken in a matter of moments. Thunder, lightning and rain would arrive in speed and then depart as miraculously to reveal the most glorious of rainbows! A gust of wind would reveal the white undersurfaces of oak leaves and then the green would show again. With trees clothing entire hill-sides, the sight would be mesmerising. In the villages where I would visit as a doctor, women would trot gracefully down the hill slopes, balancing huge stacks of hay on their heads. Beautiful children, faces grimy with dirt, clad in rags to face the biting cold of the hills, would smile back in innocence.
AN INDIAN JOURNEY
Published on Jan 23, 2012