Miranda Dookran, is a professional with work experience in addiction counselling, victim and witness support, skills training, teaching, sports administration and events management. She is a lover of poetry and prose and during the lockdown completed a children’s story which pays tribute to her father.
Dookran, a parishioner of Holy Trinity RC Arouca published Bobby and the Beehive this year. It is a tribute to her much-loved father Arjoon ‘Bobby’ Dookran. She said, the book idea was previously conceptualised as a poem entitled, ‘Daddy’s Beehive’ that she wrote in 2017 about her deceased father’s beehive. “While I was editing my collection for ‘Breeze of hope’ in 2018, my editor pointed out to me that it would make an excellent children’s story”. From midnight March 29 to May when some restrictions were eased, but there was a lockdown on non-essential activities, Dookran used this period to write her story.
In the book’s acknowledgement, Dookran states she wanted to tell his story “in a fun and exciting way”. Her father was a beekeeper for many years and had an apiary in the Caura Valley.
“He actually had a small part-time business where bottles of ‘Bobby’s Pure Honey’ were sold,” she said. Dookran grew closer to him during his last year of life. Six months before dying, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at 60 years and as expected this marked a period of much stress for him and the family. Dookran said, “I made a promise to him that I will stand by his side throughout his treatment hoping that he would beat the cancer. Unfortunately, he passed away on Boxing Day, 2012.”
His words such as, “it is better to try and fail, than fail to try” lingers in her heart.
Her father continues to be a source of inspiration. She described him as a simple man who displayed a love for nature, cricket and children. “I remembered him always sharing what he had with people in need and he once told me, ‘you will never lose if you help children’. Experiencing the loss of my father has increased my desire to make my life count and to be a blessing to those who have crossed my path.”
The plot for Bobby and the Beehive follows a day when Bobby visits his apiary and collects honeycombs and preparation of bottles of honey. His two children Amanda and Kenny assist him.
“They are based on a childhood memory that I had while my father harvested his honey from his beehive. I remembered being a part of the process and actually looked forward to sucking honey out of those honeycombs.”
Dookran said she chose not to have a mother figure visible to highlight the importance of a father in the lives of his children. She is not diminishing the role of a mother but noted society often portrays fathers as just the financial providers and mothers as the “nurturer, chief cook and bottle washer”.
Dookran adds, “Leaving her out also gives children the opportunity to use their imagination and decide where she could possibly be.”
Through her story she hopes to convey a message of love and appreciation for the role and function of a father in the lives of his children and highlight the importance of working together as a family to get a task completed. “I would also like to encourage a deeper admiration for the flora and fauna of my twin-island Republic”.
Dookran began writing from primary school. One memory is jotting down verses of poetry at the age of nine. Some of her favourite books seek to motivate: Dr Scott Peck’s The Road Less Travelled, The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John C Maxwell, Maya Angelou’s And Still I Rise.
She said her Catholic faith has impacted on her writing. “I strongly believe that we are nothing without God and this can be seen in some my pieces such as, ‘His Love’, ‘My God is so Awesome’ and ‘The Power of St. Michael’. These are contained in her other publication, 2018’s Breeze of Hope, described on the book’s cover as “A tumultuous journey of discovering love, experiencing loss and rebuilding again.”
She said it encouraged readers to have a relationship with God and to rely on him in times of adversity. Dookran adds, “In my children’s story, I also showed the importance of praying and working together as a family”.
Both Breeze of Hope and Bobby and the Beehive can be purchased at Metropolitan Book Suppliers, Frederick Street, Port of Spain for $100 and $155 respectively. They are also being sold at Scribbles and Squills in Lange Park, Chaguanas for $80 dollars and $135 respectively. Signed copies can also be purchased from the author. She can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org