Traveling Raconteur

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Happy Birthday Anne Fadiman

Dear Anne,

It’s your birthday, many happy returns of the day! I wish I could tell you what massive favour you have done to me by writing ‘At Large and At Small’ which I picked up from a random book sale in Hyderabad, India and how it almost changed my love-relationship with Charles Lamb.

I went to a beautiful college in South India, in a small city called Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India. I chose to study literature at the risk of publicly concluding the case of my future as ‘hopeless’ as sadly that’s how a BA student is perceived here. While in college I was first introduced to Lamb through his warm essay ‘Dream Children – A Reverie’ and had a crush similar to yours in magnitude – monumental.

I was 17 and always had Lamb on my mind since when I think about the people I wish to meet in Heaven. I couldn’t talk about him with anyone as I hardly met any who knew anything about Lamb or read his essays. If you can imagine, it is quite a bit of a lonely world though extremely beautiful – to be the only admirer of a writer/artist. You entered this world of mine with your book and my copy of At Large and At Small is one I have slept with, read aloud from in my strange accent and has (banana) muffin crumbs. It is also through my admiration of your book and you that I found a friend in one Laurie Klein of Florida, USA (where I have never been but with the Internet, one doesn’t have to run into someone in a coffee shop or airport lounge, holding the same book as you love, a simple Google search helps) who shares a similar love for your writing. My world of Lamb now has three people in it – You, Laurie and Me.

I knew that if I ever made it to London, I will visit Lamb, the only Londoner I know very well apart from Keats. I was very lucky to find myself in London last month, the first time I ever travelled abroad. I had many conversation with Lamb, Laurie and You as I made this pilgrimage to Lamb’s grave in Edmonton, London and The Charles Lamb Pub on Elia Street, Islington, London.

My gift for you on your birthday are the pictures of Lamb’s grave and cottage in Edmonton. Below is a blogpost I wrote after my Lamb pilgrimage which I am embarrassed to share with you for my poor writing, I request you to ignore the writing, the pictures however pose no such threat so I am delighted to share them with you.

Best Regards,

Mubin Sultan,

India.

Fadiman replies: (!!!!!)

Dear Mubin,

Thank you for those cheering birthday greetings. It is a great pleasure to encounter someone else who harbors the same feelings for Charles Lamb that I do. Most people have never heard of him; the tiny minority who have read his work generally find him old-fashioned and inaccessible. I’m so glad that you belong to the minority within that minority who not only appreciate him but love him.

I very much enjoyed the photos (indeed, the entire blog). I’ve been to the Charles Lamb Pub in Islington but never to Lamb’s grave—but now, vicariously, I feel as if I have.

With best wishes,

Anne Fadiman

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This entry was posted on November 22, 2012 by in Beautiful Emails/Replies.

Fighting An Additction

Not One MoreSeptember 12th, 2014
Addiction is a curse one allows upon one's self until it ceases to seek permission. I do not like the idea of a mind controlled by substance. If I can refrain for 30 days, I'd be very impressed with myself.

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