Monday, April 28, 2014

'X' is for Xaviera

When I was in my teens, I was heavily into the secrecy thing. And privacy, to the extent that strangers (especially strange boys) I met were often not told my real name. I'd fabricate one on the spot and lie about everything. This stupid quirk of mine got me into a lot of trouble as you can imagine. I also sometimes wrote to this youth newspaper called "Asian Age" which invited short stories and poems from it's young readers. The pen name I chose was Xaviera.
Ah. Why Xaviera? I guess it sounded exotic enough and it began with X. The unknown, one of the most uncommon letters to start with, or so I thought then. So here I was writing stuff and sending it along and lo and behold some actually got published by the paper! I was over the moon with joy but when I showed it to my Dad, he was less than impressed. "Why not use your own name?" I had no answer to that. I went away quietly.
After Dad died we went through a lot of his papers and stuff. One file contained a whole lot of my school stuff. The first prize I got for Art at age four, the birthday cards I made him as a child, stick figure drawings, leave letters, notes written in a rounded baby hand and certificates of merit earned over the years. And among all of those were two newspaper cuttings. One poem and one article written by some 'Xaviera.' I couldn't stop crying.
Now the two articles are yellowed and frayed. But they still have pride of place on my daughter's desk!

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