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Beginnings of my writing career

It was during this period of forced idleness that I picked up the habit of reading and writing which was lying dormant in me since school days. I started reading extensively and tried my hand in writing as well. I spent most of my time in the public library situated in the picturesque Cubbon Park. I read many well known and not so well known authors all in English besides reading the periodicals and newspapers from various parts of India. I acquired a good knowledge of politics, religion, current affairs and sports. I acquired books on journalism and learnt the rudiments as to how to become a good writer. My first attempt to write to newspapers came about at this time. My very first letter to the editor appeared in November 1949 in the Hindu and the Indian Express. The Deccan Herald commenced publication in 1948 in Bangalore and I became a regular contributor in its columns. My letters to the editor started appearing regularly in the paper on a variety of subjects which made me well known. I once met Mr.Pothan Joseph, the well known writer who was the first editor of the Deccan Herald and asked him if he could find an opening for me in the paper as I was very keen to take up journalism as a career and have also proved my potential as a budding writer. He told me it would be advisable if I were to take up a steady paying job elsewhere and continue with my interest in writing as a hobby as it was not a well paid job. I could definitely become a good free lance writer one day. His reasoning was that a full time job as a journalist would not be a well paid one. I accepted his advice. I also sent my contributions to a weekly magazine in English published from Bombay under the editorship of Mr.Joachim Alva. I was engaged in serious debates with writers worldwide through its columns. Subjects like Communism (Russia) and so called Imperialism (U.S.A.), Constitution of a World Body to establish peace and a few other issues which I wrote drew responses from readers from Australia and America. It was a great feeling to be in touch with a wide range of readers and to interact with them. As an extension of my love for writing, during this period I picked up a number of pen friends in India and abroad with whom I engaged in regular correspondence. There was this guy in Sweden, Maxe Goethe by name, with whom I exchanged letters frequently and on one occasion exchanged gifts also. It happened this way. The World Table Tennis Championship was held in Stolkholm (Sweden) during this period. And my friend who is a stage actor used to visit Stolkholm for stage performances from his town which is close by. India was participating in these championships and in India’s team was my friend Krishna Nagaraj one of the top ranking players in the country that year, who lived in Bangalore. I met him before his departure for the Championships and requested him to hand over a small gift box I was sending to my friend in Sweden. I wrote to my friend Maxe Goethe to call on Mr.Nagaraj at his hotel suite and collect the gift. He not only collected the gift as arranged but sent me one through my TT playing friend. Then I had also a pen friend from Ceylon and one from New Delhi with both of whom I had a long standing correspondence.

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