Letter writing may be a dying art but it remains a preferred medium of communication for parents wanting to reach out to their daughters

Trends come and go but the practice of letter writing, especially of parents writing to their children, has stuck with the people of this country. From Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s ‘Letters from a Father to his Daughter’ to Indira Gandhi, several such letters are in the public domain now with the latest being a compilation by Sudha Menon in ‘Legacy - Letters from Eminent Parents to their daughters’.

“There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself…” are words by John Gregory Brown; words that stand true for many parents across the globe. In Legacy, Sudha has combined a rare collection of personal and inspiring letters from distinguished parents to their daughters, including those by Chanda Kochhar, K.V. Kamath, Narayana Murthy and Zia Mody. These letters are moving and inspire a bevy of emotions through their life-altering journeys, selfless love, and humility.

As is the case with raising daughters, talking to parents was in itself a learning experience for Sudha. But sometimes she had to use memory mining techniques to help them share their experiences.

“Over the time that I spent interviewing them, I used memory mining techniques that helped them go back to their own younger days, talk about being raised by their parents, the stuff they learnt from their parents and about their own journey. At the end of our conversation, many of them remarked that they were surprised at the memories that had come up out of nowhere!” says Sudha. “Narayana Murthy taught me about the importance of telling our children the stories of our ancestors, their courage, their valour, their grit and commitment, so that our children learn these qualities, too. Prakash Padukone told me how Deepika still has to make the bed and help wash the dishes when she visits the family home at Bangalore because that would keep her from forgetting that the arc lights will fade one day and she will have to live in the ordinary world that all of us live in.”

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