1st May of 1915, her birthday now comes. Grandpa was also born on the same year. So we held their 100th anniversary on 2015, and I wrote a book, ‘A Memory of My Grandparents’ and published successfully in 2015. (Here, successfully did not mean all books sold out. It only meant it comes out 1000 copies on time. By the way, the family was fully satisfied for my book appeared in time.).
Grandma’s real name was Ma Khin Mya. She was born at Sagaing, Upper Burma. She had 3 brothers, and one sister, and she was the eldest. Grandma never mentioned about her mother whenever she talked about her family. It meant she did not love her mother. It does not mean she also did not love her father. What I know was she only kept the photo of her father in her own album.
She had grandparents from her father’s side lived in Mandalay. Their names were U Phay, and Ban-Maw Khin Lay Gyi. U Phay was scholar and archaeologist. Because of his guidance she could learn old court dramas, and heroic plays of ancient histories. From her mother’s side, U Aung Thar (Police officer), and Daw Phwar Nyunt. They lived in Sagaing, Upper Burma where grandma’s happiest memories always lived.
(Left- Her paternal grandparents, Middle- U Phay- Burmese scholar, writer, poet, and archeaologist, and Retired Officer of Burmese Stone Inscription Bureau, Right – Her Maternal Grandfather stood with old police uniform in 1943.)
In her childhood memory, she lived in hell as her own life began. Grandma was a Saturday first-born, and it let her became a victim of old-time-belief ‘A first born Saturday child boded evil’. She always felt she was unwanted in her family. She always told me she wanted to be a doctor however she became a well-known writer. Her pen name was Khin Myo Chit, and she was – journalist, and writer – , and her books – Colourful Burma (1976), The 13 Carat Diamond (1969), Anawrahta of Burma (1970) (King Among Men), Flowers and Festival around the Burmese Year (1980), A Wonderland of Burmese Legends, etc were to all the readers around the world a universal appeal.
For her 102th anniversary I chose intentionally one book among them, ‘Anawrahta of Burma’ that she was always ready to talk about. It fleshed back to her old memory. From her grandpa, U Phay was guiding her to learn about the great King Anawrahta – King of Bagan. (She, at that time would not have intention to write about the King of Bagan one day what if she became a writer! Because her ambition was to be a doctor.)
From her experiences of learning from her grandpa, she admired great courage, and energy of great King who introduced, and reformed religious, and Buddhism in the middle of the eleventh century of Burma. Explanation from her grandpa about the ancient inscriptions, all became magically alive, and she said to me, ‘With this grandfather, I lived in the glorious past.’
Happy Birthday, dear grandma!