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  • Pheroza Merchant

It's Not My Real Birthday

For the few who might be confused, April 20th is not really my birthday. My birthday is in October. When I chose P.J. as a pen name and had to create a FB profile, I chose that as my birth date in honour

of this lady – my grandmother. It is actually her birthday today.


Aloomummy, as she was known to her grandchildren and great grandchildren and to most of our friends, was an amazing woman. Not because she had done anything astoundingly remarkable in her life (though she did have some good stories of her younger days) but because she was the most cheerful person I have ever known. She could laugh at herself as easily as she did at the absurdities in life while enjoying its pleasures and enduring its knocks with equal measures of calm and common sense.


So today, on her 112th birthday, it seemed appropriate to clear up that confusion. I chose April 20th for many reasons but one of the main reasons was because she was probably one of the very few people to read the first rough and even unfinished draft of Daram (which I had to print out in a large font on loose leaf paper in small instalments that would be easy for her to hold onto while she read).


She fell instantly in love with Colin and Robin and it became her regular practice to scold me (and Hetty, in absentia) because we weren’t working quickly enough to finish the book so she might find out how it would end. Sadly, she passed away before we were able to do so but she left me with an immense sense of encouragement to know that it was possible for someone other than ourselves to become so readily absorbed by this world we had created.



Aloomummy, wherever you are, I hope you like what we’ve done thus far.


Pheroza Merchant

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