An homage to my mother & grandfather

by | Thursday, February 09, 2017


Ravenshaw University, Cuttack India

I gave a talk today at Ravenshaw University (formerly Ravenshaw College) in Cuttack, Odisha on the topic of Rethinking Learning in the 21st Century: Creativity, Technology & Systems Change. I have given many talks over the past few years but this one was special. It was special because by grandfather, Dr. K. B. Tripathy was a highly respected professor of philology there for many years. My mother also studied there, completing her bachelors and masters’ degrees there. She was a prolific writer – especially after coming back to Odisha after my father retired. These two individuals, more than anybody else, were instrumental in my becoming an academic, and who I am today. I dedicated my talk to the both of them.

Below are some photos and links to the event and to information about my mother and grandfather


Banner advertising my talk


All the students and faculty gathered for my talk


My grandfather, Dr. K. B. Tripathy, received his PhD from the School of African & Oriental Studies, University of London in 1953.


He later converted his thesis into a book, “Evolution of the Oriya Language & Script,” published 1963 [PDF available here]


My cousin, Shweta, is an amazing illustrator and has been creating these lovely
nostalgic images of her memories of Cuttack and my grandparents home
(in Professor Para) and imagining my grandfather & grandmother
when they were younger.  You can see her illustration work and more images
from what she has called the “Professor Para Series” here. Image above © Shweta Mohapatra


My mother, Kanan Mishra (née Tripathy) aged 5 & then at her graduation from Ravenshaw College


Partial list of books written by my mother (mostly in Odiya) My mother’s last book: “Rekha Kunja,” a biography of her father (my grandfather). She wrote this, even as she battled cancer, knowing that she did not have much time left. She died 2 years ago.

Topics related to this post: Housekeeping | Identity | India | Learning | Personal | Philosophy | Stories | Travel

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  1. Gaurav Bhatnagar

    Is her dad’s biography in English? You must find a translator for all her works.

    • Punya Mishra

      The biography is not in English, sadly. One of my ambitions in life is to translate her writing into English. I can speak Odiya so learning the script should not be that hard. Just a question of taking this on and finding time for it. She has written everything from short stories, to auto-biographical pieces; from regular poetry to nonsense verse for children and everything in between. Lots of good stuff there that would be great to share with the wider world.


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