I met Satyajit Ray only once, when I was seven years old. Like every month, my father had taken me to the office of Sandesh
, the children’s magazine that Ray co-edited, to collect my copy. We rang the bell, and the door was opened by the tallest man I had ever seen. Far above me hung a huge face seemingly carved out of granite, which now turned and called inside in a voice of distilled thunder: "Mini-di, here’s a subscriber of yours." (Mini-di, or Nalini Das, was Ray’s cousin, whose home doubled as the Sandesh
office.) As we waited, my father kept prodding me in the back: "Ask him, ask him!" So, finally, shyly, I did. "I sent in a story three months ago..." I squeaked to this unknown giant. (Sandesh
had a section which carried the literary efforts of its underage readers.) "What’s it called?" asked Ray. I told him. "I’ll see," he said, and we left.
The next month, the story was published in Sandesh
In many ways, this little incident has, for me,...