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My Girl Scouty

Updated on February 15, 2015

How It Started

It all started with the book 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. I was in high school then and the book was in our curriculum for board exams. We were made to read the book page through page, dissect every sentence, follow the grammar, and literally memorize the story. Despite all the tediousness of learning, the book made a lasting impression during my formative years, especially the little girl Scout Finch, that has persisted in some way or the other to this day. I still consider the book as one of my best reads, notwithstanding the formidable library that I have gathered over the years, stacked with some of the best authors and books that time and opportunity have offered.

Scout Finch was the daughter of Atticus Finch, a lawyer, who stood up for a black man that was wrongly imprisoned by a predominantly racist white society. She came out as a brave little girl who understood right from wrong, and pursued what she considered the true path in right earnest. I wished then that if I ever had a daughter, I would name her Scout. That would be a rather uncommon name in a country where most girls were named after mythological goddesses like Durga or Sita who normally dominated or killed demons that were invariably males, but then who cared? I was growing up at a time when Bob Dylan was singing Times They're Changing amid a Hippie culture that avowedly disowned everything conventional. I thought my favoring the name Scout was iconoclastic, nonconformist, non-mainstream, in line with my preference and not mere submission to societal wishes.

Time went by. I graduated as an engineer and went to work at a place where I met my future bride. She was studying to be a doctor then, and we had to wait until her graduation a couple of years later to get married. Within two years of our marriage, we were blessed with a child-a daughter! I remember my wife coming out on a gurney from the OT in anesthesia-induced stupor, though aware enough to clutch my hand tightly upon seeing me through half-closed eyelids. I told her then on the arrival of a daughter in the family. She clenched my hand tighter and said in a hoarse voice, "I had always wanted a daughter." That's how our Scout Finch was welcomed to the world, a gift to be cherished until our last breath. In a way, we were both rebels since the overpowering desire of most parents then was to have a son, an important progeny to carry forward the family name and spread the family tree in a tradition-bound country. But it was our lives. If we were happy with a daughter, the rest were relatively unimportant. One daughter, one life, one decision, one progeny. Nothing more, nothing less. Scout of our dreams was there to be cuddled, loved, tutored, nurtured, molded, and left to make the world her playground. That's how she came to us.

Poet Benjamin Moloise
Poet Benjamin Moloise

Her Early Years

Scout started having many names by the first year of her life. Her aunt named her Rabia in memory of a Sufi saint and poet who was born in the Seventh century in Basra, Iraq. Her grandfather named her Moloise in memory of Benjamin Moloise, the South African freedom fighter who was executed by the apartheid regime and had famously said at the gallows

"I am proud to be what I am…

The storm of oppression will be followed
By the rain of my blood
I am proud to give my life

My one solitary life."

In all this overwhelming confluence of literary geniuses, I somehow forgot my Hippie fascination at being unconventional and wanted to name her Mrinalini, but that name didn't sustain since by then the family had decided to name her Sangbreeta, a Sanskrit name meaning a person with the utmost self control. Of course, her nannies called her differently in names that sounded relatively easy and endearing to them, but they mostly called her Buchun. She now is known by the easier nanny name Buchun, the official Sangbreeta, and I am the only one left calling her Scout as a reminder of my Woodstock, Joe Cocker, Dylan and Baez days, and my fascination with that little girl character from the book.

Well, Scout, her early years were nondescript and rather ordinary. That was, she ate poorly, slept late, studied averagely, ran around, played doll games, giggled, cried, laughed and sulked. She had few friends while growing since we stayed in a hospital campus where there weren't many small children. What was rather out of the ordinary was her passion for public speaking, which we mistook for simple child blabber and tried our desperate best to mainstream towards studying. Though she did that, there remained within her a fire to orate that sometimes manifested itself through various elocution awards that she got home. We thought that was routine, and somehow never realized the potential within her.

She passed high school, sailed through college, and then went to Europe to pursue a master's program at an esteemed university on scholarship. That's where she blossomed to be what she is today.


Just Do It!

There was a secret we both shared on her exam days in senior school. I would stand a distance away from the house when she would leave for school, wave my hand and say 'Just Do It' or 'Impossible Is Nothing' that were famous ads those days. She would look up and smile, and then re-immerse herself into the textbook of whatever exam was happening that day, as a last minute catch-up. Those evenings we would go over the question papers, and would invariably find that she had answered most correctly. So 'Just Do It' caught on as an inspiration tool between us in the subsequent years, at least until she was with us.

After completing her master's, she got a job that she wanted, not any job that was offered to her. With time to spare during weekends, she began pursuing her passion for public speaking in right earnest. She joined the local Toastmasters club in the town where she lived, represented them at the district level, then regional, and subsequently national level. Well, it has been two years in a row that she has represented a nation that is not hers to begin with, where English is widely spoken and understood, in a language not native to her, and both times she has been awarded as one of the best speakers and evaluators in Europe. That little Scout of yesteryear has literally proven that 'Impossible is Nothing' if passions are nurtured and pursued in right earnest. She believed in herself, and 'Just Did It.'

Where The Mind Is Without Fear

One of the greatest bards of India, Rabindranath Tagore, had once written a poem "Where the Mind is Without Fear.' It reads as follows.

'Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high

Where knowledge is free

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls

Where words come out from the depth of truth

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way

Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit

Where the mind is led forward by thee

Into ever-widening thought and action

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.'

The poem basically was written to protest against British rule in India then. Later on, it evolved to signify protest against any form of injustice. Scout's last lecture 'Without Fear' for the newspaper The Diplomat was a tribute to the poem, and emphasized the power of the free soul to face all hurdles and conquer all adversities with the power of the mind without worrying about the consequences.


Life Lessons Learnt From Scout

Sangbreeta, Mrinalini, Rabia, Buchun, Scout-whichever name you decide to call her by, has proven that the power of dreams is far greater than the ordinariness of submission into a molded humdrum existence. As parents, we have realized, albeit late in the day, that a child's dreams need to be nurtured and not thwarted. If we as parents can think beyond the box and not crave that our children follow rewarding conventional careers to ensure their stability and financial security, who knows we can perhaps have a few more Einsteins, Mozarts, Shakespeares or Jungs in the future. We need our children to follow the wind of their thoughts and not be blown by the wind of nothingness. We need to listen to them carefully when they are young, and identify traits, talents and characteristics early on to help them develop that and pursue their dreams. Scout is just an example. If there is a child yearning to do something differently, let that child be encouraged to pursue individuality rather than being chained to a lifetime of ordinariness. After all, a life is meant to be lived in happiness with fulfilled dreams instead of the dreariness of a simple nondescript existence.

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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Dip Mtra, what a great hub about your daughter Scout. Great name by the way and I love how you came to call her that. Good for you. he has been given so many different names, what does she prefer to be called? She is obviously a very accomplished public speaker.

    • Dip Mtra profile image
      Author

      Dip Mtra 2 years ago from World Citizen

      Thanks Jodah, you are always an inspiration and I always look forward to your comments.

      Everyone calls her Buchun, I call her Scouty, at office she is called Sangbreeta. I don't know which she prefers, though she responds to every name with equal alacrity. Yes, she is very accomplished, and has varied interests ranging from painting to dancing etc.

      Thanks Jodah, again.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This was a most compelling read. Reading about Benjamin Moloise gave me a chill literally. ( I hope you write about him. ) You are a proud father, as you should be. Letting a child follow the wind of their thoughts is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing a part of Scout with us...

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a wonderful and beautifully written essay, Dip Mtra. What a great tribute to your daughter! I love the concluding section.

    • Dip Mtra profile image
      Author

      Dip Mtra 2 years ago from World Citizen

      Hello Ruby and Alicia,

      Thank you for reading my essay. I will surely write something on Benjamin Moloise.

      Thank you, once again.

      Dipankar

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      I have read and been held by every word, my Brother. A totally awesome, impassioned and beautiful story of a loving parenthood, and what seems to be a cherished and indomitable will, in a young talented girl, who understood her life's purpose.

      Quite a powerful summary with much wisdom. All nice names, except that, interestingly enough, I like Sangbreeta much more than your choice, but I do understand your original sentiment.

      Finally, Bro, don't knock my Sita, who like Kunti, Savitri or Damayanti, reminds me of the very epitome of Indian piety and virtue. Still, your daughter has a super-excellent name, and one to suit, perhaps, her current personality. OM Shanti!

      P.S. Ruby's (always exploring) short summary was pretty awesome too. I share her sentiments. You seem an exquisite writer!

    • Dip Mtra profile image
      Author

      Dip Mtra 2 years ago from World Citizen

      Thanks Manatita for the kind words. Your grasp on Hinduism is awesome. Kunti, Savitri, Damayanti-wow! These characters are from the very innermost folds of Ramayana, and that you can quote these names with ease is simply awesome.

      Thanks again.

      Om Shanti, peace be with you friend.

      Best regards,

      Dipankar

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Hehe .....

      Some say one should never say bad things about a person in another language when they're standing next to you, as they might understand. He he ... still, perhaps a bad example, all great people here. I just wish to tell you that I have been studying Vedic literature for 32 years! My Guruji is also Indian. Why do you think that my poetry is so sublime and so profound?

      Love you, Bro. You seem a good Soul. My regards to the family.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      What a breathtaking, inspiring article. Having a daughter that is so loved by various members of her family, and given just as many beloved names, is a testament of a deeply caring and supportive family. I also loved Scout from TKAM. To this day, Nelle Harper Lee is my favorite author, although like you, my library is overflowing with works by other writers. “We need our children to follow the wind of their thoughts and not be blown by the wind of nothingness.” Beautifully and perfectly stated, Dipankar. This is how we raised our son, and he is living a happy life wherein he was able to fulfill his dreams. Voted way up and sharing.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Dipankar, I am very impressed with this article. It is inspiring, introduces a remarkable Scout to the reader and clearly shows your insight to letting children " ... follow the wind of their thoughts and not be blown by the wind of nothingness." Very well-written and memorable. I enjoyed reading it.

      Voted Up, across, H+, G+, P and F

    • Dip Mtra profile image
      Author

      Dip Mtra 2 years ago from World Citizen

      Thanks Genna and Phyllis for your kind words. Greatly appreciated, especially coming from excellent writers both and veterans here at HP.

      Best regards and thanks once again,

      Dipankar

    • Dip Mtra profile image
      Author

      Dip Mtra 2 years ago from World Citizen

      I wonder at times why Harper Lee didn't write any other book other than 'To Kill A Mockingbird.' She was such a gifted writer. She turned into a recluse after this solo book, again why? Can anyone throw some light on this please?

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      I believe Harper Lee achieved a rare goal in life. All authors dream of writing a novel that will become a best seller and made into an award-winning movie. Most authors work at it for years and if they accomplish it they may retire and rest on their laurels, whereas Harper Lee hit it spot on with her first novel and the movie was considered the best book-to-movie achievement in history with a powerful lead character to play Atticus Finch: Gregory Peck - it could not have been any better than that.

      Also, the underlying subject matter had to do with racism and rape, both which had to be brought out to the public and encourage open discussion for resolutions.

      As to why Harper Lee faded into seclusion, I read somewhere that she had done what she wanted to do and there was nothing more she wanted to say.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      you named your daughter scout? unique i must say and daring. thumbs up

    • Dip Mtra profile image
      Author

      Dip Mtra 2 years ago from World Citizen

      Phyllis, great news. I wish every morning starts like this where you scan the newspaper looking for uplifting articles and normally don't find any other than a small clipping tucked in the third or fourth page of the newspaper.

      Well, today's paper said that Harper Lee is coming out with her next novel where Scout Finch returns home after 20 years. The manuscript was discovered by chance by one of Lee's friends, and will be published shortly!!! It was written at the same time as TKAM as a sequel but Lee tucked it away somewhere and forgot about it.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      OMGosh ! Dip - this is very exciting news. I am thrilled to learn of this and thank you so much for the notice. I will be sure to get the book and you must, too - well, I know, of course you will. Then we can discuss the book and ... goodness! I am so excited. After all those years of Lee not shedding any light on a possible sequence to TKAM. I guess she had more to say after all. Bless her soul.

      Thank you, Dip !!!

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Sequel, I meant, not sequence ... I am so excited ...

    • Dip Mtra profile image
      Author

      Dip Mtra 2 years ago from World Citizen

      "Go Set A Watchman" is the name of the book and will be published on July 14, 2015 by Penguin Random House Inc. She wrote it in the mid 1950s and features Scout as a grown woman. Lee's editor had persuaded her to write the sequel and since she was a first time writer with TKAM, she simply followed as she was told. Lee didn't realize that it had survived and was delighted and surprised when her friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it by chance.

      Great news after a very very long time. We wake up with news on ISIS beheadings these days, so it's a welcome relief.

    • Dip Mtra profile image
      Author

      Dip Mtra 2 years ago from World Citizen

      Yes peachpurple, I named her Scout and still call her by that name, though she is a grown woman now and will be marrying at the end of this year. I don't know whether her future kids or husband are going to like that name, so if I can't call her Scout anymore and have to call her by some other name, I know my heart will still call her Scout forever.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      I will copy and save the book name and publish date. Thanks, Dip.

      Yes, the ISIS news is very distressing - so, news like Harper Lee is wonderful to hear. She must be thrilled. Scout Finch was such an idol for me when I was a kid. I look forward to knowing her as a young woman. I hope Atticus is still around, too.

    • Dip Mtra profile image
      Author

      Dip Mtra 2 years ago from World Citizen

      Yes, Scout visits her hometown with her father Atticus. Great news Phyllis.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Yes!

    • Dip Mtra profile image
      Author

      Dip Mtra 2 years ago from World Citizen

      There is some controversy surrounding the sequel to TKAM now. I was just listening to Australia news where they said that Lee is 88 years old and is senile. Her sister who was her original lawyer passed away three years ago. They never mentioned anything on the sequel ever. With Lee's senility raging and no one to recount the past, the authenticity of the book is being questioned, especially since Lee had repeatedly claimed in her saner times that she didn't have any more story to tell other than TKAM.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Well ... this does not sound good. It rather bodes some wrong-doing, maybe?

    • Dip Mtra profile image
      Author

      Dip Mtra 2 years ago from World Citizen

      No it doesn't but the first few lines and we will know if it's a fake. No one can get her inimitable style. So before buying suggest read some online excerpts and re views since its going to be pricey.

    • profile image

      Nanu 2 years ago

      Fantastic writing . Keep it up.

    • Dip Mtra profile image
      Author

      Dip Mtra 2 years ago from World Citizen

      Thanks Nanu. My humble tribute to Scouty really!

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