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Vergal A Memoir

Author Name: Lalitha Ganesan | Format: Paperback | Genre : Biographies & Autobiographies | Other Details

Vergal is a contribution to the collective memory of people deeply rooted in the culture that formed them and how they coped with the changes in values and tradition over time. In this memoir, Lalitha Ganesan, the author, vividly describes her childhood as part of the loving extended families of both her parents in rural Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Religious tradition and ritual were a central part of daily life with puja, stories from the epics, and music. The families gathered for pilgrimages, marriages, and festivals.  Lalitha describes her love of learning which her uncle and maternal grandfather encouraged, but family tradition did not — her maternal grandmother was married at nine, and her mother and an elder cousin at seventeen. But, Lalitha persisted and excelled and became the first woman in her family to attend college. She continued her education and became a professor of mathematics in a Mumbai college.  She portrays many of the family members with their gifts and foibles in charming anecdotes and captures the slow farming life in her ancestral town, where nature was respected and conserved. She fears for the disconnection with these roots by the fast-paced, consumer society that is replacing them. 

Vergal invites the reader to partake in the author’s past and present, to understand not just her personal experience, but also that of modern Indian culture. 

 Dr. Rosemarie Heinegg, New York State Education Department

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Lalitha Ganesan

Born in a conservative tambrahm family in South India, the author grew up in Thiruvananthapuram, with her maternal grandparents. She did her post graduation from Kerala University. After marriage she moved to Mumbai, and pursued a career in teaching. While teaching, she completed a diploma in higher education, an M Phil degree, and a doctorate in Mathematics. The post-retirement void and the death of her mother prompted her to write a post on social media. Encouraged by the overwhelming response to that post, she started writing this memoir.