Josna Rege

About

So many stories to tell, from so many different times and places in my life, one has to start somewhere. Not one, in this case—me. I’ll keep them short, because time is short and longer is more daunting. And I hope that those of you whose stories overlap or intersect with mine, whether we know each other or not, will make comments and corrections, share your own stories, and generally enter into conversation with them. (In the interest of preserving some privacy, please use just first names in your comments, or first names and just the initials of last names.)

The home page displays the latest three entries. Clicking on Tell Me Another at the bottom of every story will take you back to a hyperlinked Table of Contents. The Archives section at the bottom of the home page allows you to search all the entries by month or by category. There is also a Search function at the bottom right, and an Email Subscription which will send you each new story by email. For a full-page view, click on an entry’s title; and to return to the home page, click on the blog’s title, Tell Me Another.

All the stories on Tell Me Another are copyrighted and may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Write to me!

September, 2015: I suppose my vagueness and circumspection in writing the above was a futile attempt at maintaining a little (entirely illusory) privacy. Since Tell Me Another is a personal blog, you’ll learn plenty about me by reading the stories themselves. What else is there but stories? Now that TMA is five years old, I may return to reflect on them from time to time, posting meta-commentary in italics below the original piece as I have here.

About the blog’s title: Tell Me Another is, of course, a nod to storytelling itself. I hope that you will be drawn into the stories enough to want to click on Tell Me Another at the end of each one and read another, and yet another. But the title is also an acknowledgement that no matter how truthful one tries to be, a story is bound to have an element of fiction in it. In composing any story, the storyteller emphasizes some elements and leaves out others altogether, depending on the audience, the message, the occasion, and what takes her fancy at the time. That’s why this genre is called creative non-fiction. So yes, these stories are true—and I hope they ring true for you, dear reader—but of course you know that one can tell the same story in many, many different ways.

About the different kinds of stories: Not having learned much more about the features of WordPress than when I first began, all the stories and the notes are on one “page.” But I could, and might, set up separate pages for various overlapping categories: stories from my childhood and my parents’ childhoods; stories set in particular countries: England, India, Greece, the United States; stories about books and writers; stories with postcolonial and transcultural themes; stories of political and historical interest; pieces on printing and typography, words and etymology; homages and obituaries; reflections; vagairah, vagairah. In the meantime, you can explore these categories from the bottom of the TMA homepage by clicking on “Select Category” and scrolling down. Cheers, JR

  1. I am your devoted fan already! More! I want more!

    • I find myself wanting to write dozens of these all at once, but Nikhil says I need to pace myself. And then there’s work–such a nuisance.

  2. These stories are absolutely wonderful, and somehow gripping. I am eating up the words as I munch along faster and faster. I love the simplicity and straightforwardness of the language. It packs a big punch. Also, the content is fascinating. I like learning more about you and Andrew, too, in these small bites. Keep up the good work!

  3. could you tell me about the tree house that you and the Melnies built in Brookline…?

  4. Hi Cussin

    These are lovely – keep them coming. Love you lots. Cussin Lesleyxx

  5. Congratulations! You have a wonderful writer’s voice. I like the brief format. Keep them coming, over time they could add up to something monumental.

  6. How lovely to read your fascinating and wonderfully entertaining stories. Nikhil must have loved bedtime with stories like these 🙂 XXX

  7. Thank you, Jan. I mostly read books, as I remember, though Mum and Dad told us stories; but that was one of the original thoughts in the back of my mind–to collect very short stories from all the different branches of our family, across continents and across generations that could be told as bedtime stories. Mum told so many about her childhood, too, that I’d love to set down in writing before I forget even more of them. xxo Jo

  8. Delightful tales of the Reges, Melnechuks, and assorted other characters, some of whom I know and some of whom I will meet in the blogosphere. Josna, thanks for taking the time to write these charming stories.

    • Thank you, “little d” (d-ski)–there would be no delightful stories without the delightful characters who people them. Writing them is great fun. xo J

  9. Josna, you are always prompting me to write my story, and lately as
    others ask the same of me, I’ve given some thought to doing so, but
    in all honesty it is you that is truly the writer. I can only hope
    to be the writer that you are.

    • Thank you for your confidence in me, Jimii, but I must respectfully disagree about your own writing skills. What about considering a blog yourself? You can set the privacy settings so that only you can see it, or only specified friends. I might never have gotten started if Nikhil hadn’t just gone ahead and set it up for me, but now I’m a believer! J

  10. Fabuloso, Jo! I love the stories I’ve read so far, and will work my way thru the archives. You have a strong voice and are gifted at making the “mundane” intriguing. This blog is an inspiration to record one’s memories (and those of other family members) for one’s children, and this method — in quick, random bites — seems the least overwhelming and most doable. Write On! xxoo, McNancy

    • Thanks, McNance! Yes, doable is the watchword. These memories are so evanescent, and they started demanding urgently to be set down as soon as dear Nikhil suggested this bite-size form. Love, Jo

  11. Jojo, what a wonderful surprise! Today Pinu told me about this blog & stories of Ratnagiri. I read mango tree & could vividly visualise chubby jayant dada turning into a mango.
    Thank you. I am now avid fan of yours

  12. Vidya! I’m so glad you liked the Mango Room story. Hope you will like the stories about my schooldays in Darjeeling, since you had visited there recently. Did you read “From a Railway Carriage”? If not, I think you might enjoy it, too. Love, J
    PS Recognize the photo at the top of the “About” page? (chup-chaap, no names…!)

  13. Such clear and beautiful writing, Josna. I love how your memories just come alive on the page. These stories are a true gift!

    • Thank you, Joyce, for your kind words. I hope Tell Me Another encourages you to share your writing with a wider audience as well. I’m sure that it will resonate with a community of readers with common interests and concerns. (And let’s meet again soon–perhaps over tea?)

  14. I edit http://www.indiaofthepast.org, where the aim is to capture memories of India and Indians that are at least 50 years old. Many of your stories would be suitable for my website. Please check out my website, and contact me at scmathur@gmail.com if you would like to contribute to my website. Withe regards, Subodh Mathur

  15. Loving your blog so far. Following. Thanks for commenting on my post the other day and leading me here!

    • Thanks, bottledworder! Likewise, I’m delighted to have been led to your blog. I like it very much (am also following it) and look forward to reading more of your posts. Your voice is so alive and you’re clearly switched on and thinking all the time. It inspires me to be looser and bolder in my own writing.

  16. Well written Josna (the post about Arabic and autoantonyms; I noticed it because the word ‘antonym’ features in my tagline.
    Evangeline

  17. Thank you, Evangeline–much appreciated. I’ve just visited both your blogs and find the concept, the format , and the style imaginative and engaging–and funny, too! Look forward to following the exploits of your geriatric intelligence expert and her daughter. Best wishes, J

  18. I nominated you for a Blogging A to Z Challenge Liebster Award.

  19. Josna – there’s to be a “celebratory” event at St Catherine’s School, Athens, on Friday 17 May, to remember Christine Warren Tutte, the headmistress about whom you have written so movingly. I wanted to read out parts of your blog at that event as below. Would you mind? Michael

    “Christine tells us what she thought of the school, staff and pupils, as well as her life in Athens, in her book, Spiked Wheels and Little Owls, published in 2006. There is less space devoted to what others thought of her.
    In her blog, Tell Me Another, Josna Rege writes:
    “July 5th, 2012: I have just received the sad news from the PA to the headmaster of St. Catherine’s that Christine Warren Tutte passed away on July 3rd. I mourn the loss of a great teacher and human being. I offer my sincere sympathy to her family and to all who knew and loved her. At last I will be making contact with her through her book, since St. Catherine’s has kindly offered to send me a copy.”
    “July 30th, 2012: Today I received Miss Tutte’s book in the mail. Imagine my emotions when I opened it to find a photograph of my class, with a beaming eight year old me in the front row, bearing the caption: “the first class I taught when I arrived in 1962.”
    She goes on to relate a characteristic story about Christine:
    “One week Miss Tutte was waging a campaign to improve our vocabulary—not that she would ever have put it in those pedestrian terms. She drew a square box on the blackboard with vertical bars on the front of it, and inside, languishing, she put the word “nice.” Every time we used that word, she explained, we would get a demerit. It was still early in the week and we were collectively racking up the demerits at an alarming rate. The class was in danger of getting demoralized, and I watched Miss Tutte, wondering how she was going to handle this. Then she made a brilliant move: she used the forbidden word herself! A chorus of voices cried out triumphantly, “Miss! Miss! Demerit for you, Miss, you used the forbidden word!” And as she did a masterful job of feigning startled surprise at having been caught, I fancy that Miss Tutte gave me an almost imperceptible wink, as if she knew that I had guessed her little secret, and could trust me to keep it for her.”

    • Dear Michael,

      I am touched and would be honored if you shared some of my reminiscences of Christine Warren Tutte (or Miss Tutte, as I still can’t help but think of her). I would ave loved to be able to be there in person, but this way I’ll be able to feel that I am a part of the celebration of her remarkable life. I think that the story of “nice” in prison does captures something of her approach to teaching and to young people.
      If there is anyone there on Saturday who was at St. Catherine’s between 1961 and 1963 (wow, that was a long time ago!), please greet them for me and let them know that I’d be delighted if they got in touch.
      Thanks again, and I will be there in spirit.
      Josna (or Jojo, as I was known then)

  20. Hope my summation of your blog wasn’t way off the mark 🙂 http://bottledworder.com/2013/07/11/two-blogs-i-like/

    • No, not at all, and thank you for your generous praise of Tell Me Another. I realize that I haven’t said much about the project, or about myself, in the description above. (That is because my son set up the wordpress blog for me and asked my to name it and write the “About” blurb on the spot, when I had just written my very first story and before I had any idea whatsoever about the world of bloggers and blogging.) The reader who has some familiarity with Indian English literature, though, may hear some echoes of Midnight’s Children in its “So many stories to tell…”. I fully reciprocate your feelings in my enjoyment of bottledworder. It’s such fun to see the new directions you take and the experiments you are continually making. Thanks again. Your review couldn’t have come at a better time. Cheers, J

  21. “We are all foreigners. And it is our human task to help one another feel a little more at home.” Beautiful. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read on here. Your style is beautiful and descriptive, yet to the point, yet still never rushed. So special.

    I wanted to sit down and speak with you, hear your stories, the instant I saw you. In this way, I get to. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for inspiring.

    Lots of Love,
    Morgan

    • Thank you, Morgan, for your sweet reply. I loved your singing the first time I saw you perform at the Bowwow, so I was delighted to meet you in person at The Poet in New York. Both your words and your music seem to flow–well up–from the same place, not always the case. I have just started to dip into your rich and thoughtful blog. What I like most about it so far is just an impression, since I haven’t read enough yet, but you allow your reflections to arise from your experiences and set them down in such a way that they almost become the thoughts of the reader. What I mean is that they are very personal without coming across as self-involved. Warm wishes for the New Year!

  22. dear josna, my five cent: leave everything as it is, and keep coming at us. i precisely like that it is NOT’ organized, that we are being surprised, that we are not wanted all the time,. that we can stroll or search, but don’t have to follow someone’s else’s guidance except for chronology of appearance. to me, that’s the unique charm. don’t streamline it.
    keep on keeping on.
    bine

  23. My parents had an Anglo-Indian background — I was born the year after Indian independence — so some of your posts’ contents remind me of their neither/nor situation when they moved to Britain. Enjoying the ones I’ve read so far, thanks.

    • Thanks so much for reading and for commenting. Since I’ve been traveling this month I’ve been slow in responding and reciprocating, but I’ve just visited your beautifully written blog and am looking forward to reading further in it. I’m glad that some of my stories resonate with you; love the ways in which lives, experiences, and sensibilities overlap.

  24. Hoping you’ll find this fun. I nominated you for a Liebster Award this evening. Here is the URL of the link. http://careymclaughlin.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/play-along-its-a-liebster/

    • Thank you so much, Carey–how sweet of you! I have been to your website and read the post. I’d be delighted to accept this, especially since you describe it as a low-key and internal bloggers’ nod to their fellow bloggers. I’m currently rather snowed under with work, so if you will allow me a little time to get to composing and answering all the questions, I will certainly do so. Thanks again! J

  25. My theme in the 2015 A to Z was much the same as your whole blog so I am interested in what you have done. Will be sure to read – but like you I feel reading time is so hard to come by! I saw the picture on your about page and it “grabbed” me because I travel to Cambodia often and it could have been a scene from there, so similar.

    • Thank you for visiting and following Tell Me Another, Shirley. I have visited your blog and am looking forward to reading more of it. Love what I’ve read so far. Wonder if you have written about your trips to Cambodia in it, or mostly about your and your children’s childhoods?

  26. Just want to pass on the nomination for the Ewonderhub Blogger Award to you
    as I enjoy your blog posts so much.
    Details of what is involved are on this link https://chezsheasite.wordpress.com/2016/05/18/aw-thanks/

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