Letters and Journals-1970s to now

In Stud Terkel’s – Coming of Age – he writes about the experiences of persons in their seventies and beyond
and the lessons of life we can draw from them.

“Life certainly does not begin at seventy…..”

with sahil..malta l sliema..feb 2012

SLEIMA-MALTA-2011- We did not inherit this earth from our ancestors, we borrowed it from our Children..Native American Proverb



This book made me think of the seniors who had influence on shaping my thoughts and beliefs.

My grandfather was not in his seventies- but he was in his sixties- and he got me into the world of letters.

He would correct a letter which I would send to him from Pune-India. He was in Moscow.

This was before the times of internet-and instant messaging and video conferencing calls. But that process of writing a letter to Moscow, then waiting for it to be corrected with some suggestions, was a binding exercise which introduced me to the world of letters.

Later I refined it into a three point heading grid.

1-As Life Is

2-What we are as a group or people

3-What we can become.


The senior teachers, priests of St. Loyola and St.Vincent’s Pune were a shaping influence.

When I look back, I remember these educators who could teach so many different subjects, I saw some of them even teach sports- Javelin and Football, while being equally comfortable in the Wren and Martin Grammar and Geography projects which they guided us through and introducing us to Newton and VIBGYOR.

The concept of a legacy- a living tradition came in very strongly as I witnessed the football cup in memory of Father Riklin .Father Maxmillian Riklin was the principal of St.Vincent’s School from 1929-to 1950. The St.Vincent’s High school was established in 1867 by members of The Society of Jesus


My paternal grandfather lived only till his fifties. But talking to older cousins, I came to know of his love for the garden tombs, museums, parks, trade fairs, exhibitions of Delhi region. They told of times when he would take the children to Qutub Minar Mehrauli area and commune with the centuries gone by.

Bada Gumbad

Lodhi gardens-Bada Gumbad-Aug 2015


Yogendra Dobhal..Dear Guddu Bhai..Walkers of Lodhi…Exploring the seeds of time https://prashantbhatt.com/2013/05/24/exploring-the-seeds-of-time/


In this COVID19 lockdown, I had a re-look at some aspects of my home library, which includes books, but also personal journals, albums and collages.

Re-read the Reading Journal notes of Conrad’s – Heart of Darkness and the discussion of whether Conrad was a racist as some like Chinua Achebe say . This led us to -Things Fall Apart-  the book by Achebe in which Okonkwo struggles with the legacy of his father – a shiftless debtor fond of playing the flute – as well as the complications and contradictions that arise when white missionaries arrive in his village of Umuofia.

A time to connect- with my sons.

We went through the Extended Essay he wrote in 2016-17- in which he compared “Handmaid’s Tale” of Margaret Atwood-1985 to “Jane Eyre” of Charlotte Bronte-1847.


The letters I wrote from Pune to Moscow in 1970s, and the corrections my grandfather sent me, have evolved into journals of different types.

The Reading Journal is one example. My father introduced me to Museums. This has led me to go to different museums, become part of museum societies.

Last year-2019- my son Sagar, visited China as part of a University exchange program between Yangzhou and Ryerson Universities. He went for some interesting walks-Visited the Forbidden city and walked the Great Wall of China, paid homage to Nanjing martyrs and meditated at the Marco Polo museums and Flower gardens.

We looked at some of his intellectual and physical journeys. As part of this project, we went through some pictures of the ROM-Royal Ontario Museum-Family Photographs exhibition of Spring 2017 at Frank McKechnie Woods-Mississauga in early spring 2020.


Earlier Perspectives

2014-JANUARY – A letter to a loved one who has passed away


2012-MAY-REMEMBERING STUDS TERKEL- I want to conserve the blue of the skies




The Society of Jesus, to which the Jesuit Fathers and Brothers belong, is a Catholic religious order founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola in 1540.

The original, complete form of the Exercises is a retreat of about 30 days in silence and solitude. The Exercises are divided into four “weeks” of varying length with four major themes: sin and God’s mercy, episodes in the life of Jesus, the passion of Jesus, and the resurrection of Jesus together with a contemplation on God’s love. This last is often seen as the goal of Ignatian spirituality, to find God in all things. The “weeks” represent stages in a process of wholehearted commitment to the service of God. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_Exercises_of_Ignatius_of_Loyola

2- JANE EYRE-1847

Jane Eyre-  revolutionised prose fiction by being the first to focus on its protagonist’s moral and spiritual development through an intimate first-person narrative, where actions and events are coloured by a psychological intensity. Charlotte Brontë has been called the “first historian of the private consciousness”, and the literary ancestor of writers like Proust and Joyce






About prashant bhatt

A psychologist, interested in mindfulness practices. I practiced medicine as a radiologist for 23 years in India and Libya as a radiologist before shifting to Canada. A regular diarist, journaling since 1983 Reading journal : gracereadings.com
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