Grandpa, 90, pens years’ old tale for great-grandchildren during Covid

Updated on Jul 28, 2021 05:23 PM IST

Grandpa’s tale “Why the Rose has thorns” is dedicated to his nine great-grandchildren whom he rarely gets to meet

Vishnu Joshi, author of the “Story of Rose”, reads to his granddaughter Mishka Deshpande in Pune, on Tuesday. Grandpa, 90, pens years’ old tale for great-grandchildren during Covid. (HT PHOTO)
Vishnu Joshi, author of the “Story of Rose”, reads to his granddaughter Mishka Deshpande in Pune, on Tuesday. Grandpa, 90, pens years’ old tale for great-grandchildren during Covid. (HT PHOTO)
ByPrachi Bari

PUNE Unlike a majority of people who found the Covid-induced lockdowns boring and stifling, Vishnu Joshi, 90, an ex-student of Deccan Education Society’s New English School Ramanbaug, Pune, put all that time to good use by turning his passion for storytelling into concrete reality.

Joshi, who loves to regale everyone with stories, managed to write a tale he had narrated to his grandchild 15 to 16 years ago and even got it published as a book titled, “Why the Rose has thorns?” which was launched on Saturday on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of New English School Ramanbaug. What’s more, the book is now available in 12 languages, both Indian and foreign, into which it was painstakingly translated.

Recalling his experience, Joshi said, “During Covid, I made it a habit to write every day for an hour using my computer (which he learned at the age of 70). I remembered the story I had narrated to my grandson and penned it.”

Reminiscing how an old story came to life as a book, the voracious reader and budding author said, “I am an engineer by profession, and it was while I was looking after a factory at Khanapur near Belgaum that I visited a rose garden near Asogaon. My grandson had accompanied me and while we enjoyed the beauty of the many varieties of roses, he asked the owner of the garden whether he could pluck a rose. After the owner allowed him to do so, he plucked a rose but its thorns pricked his finger and he started crying. The owner crushed the leaves and petals of the very same rose into an ointment of sorts which he applied on my grandson’s wound. My grandson stopped crying but kept pestering me as to why the rose plant has thorns. I then narrated to him the tale of how Lord Shankar and his consort Goddess Parvati visited the Earth as commoners when they felt thirsty and asked a local gardener for water. Instead of water though, the gardener gave them gulkand (sweet made from rose petals) which Goddess Parvati had never tasted…”

“Why the Rose has thorns” is dedicated to Joshi’s nine great-grandchildren whom he rarely gets to meet. In his dedication in the book, Joshi has said that the energy drawn from watching children play along with the discipline and values he was taught at Balranjan Kendra, Bharati Niwas, made it possible for him to write the book.

Joshi said that after he showed the completed script to his daughters and grandchildren, they were pleasantly surprised. Joshi’s daughter, Savita Kelkar, remembered, “After my father wrote this story, it became a family affair, which brought us a lot of joy and a chance to interact with each other. It was read aloud before the grandchildren in Marathi and English and reactions and suggestions were noted and words were added to and deleted from the script.” Being a translator by profession, she decided to reach out to the larger public with this simple story and consequently, the book got translated into 12 (Indian and foreign) languages.

“Many of my friends volunteered and we now have this book in 12 languages. With my translation in German, others like Ujjwala Chaphalkar Anderson from Sweden (who is translating it in Swedish) were inspired to take the project further,” said Savita.

Joshi’s book is now available in Urdu, translated by Sahida Inamdar; Hindi by Shipra Chaturvedi from Lucknow; Khasi by Rebekah Tham from Shillong; Odiya by Dusmant Kumar Chakra; Kannada by Shobha Joshi and Shobha Panchangmath; French by Jaya Gadgil; Russian by Rohini Joshi; Spanish by Darshana Thatte; Sanskrit by Swati Yadnopavit; Gujarati by Surbhi Bhagwat; Chinese by Yashoghara Gadgil; and Japanese by Swati Bhagwat.

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