I started writing around that time, but did it without my parents’ knowledge. I didn’t tell them that I was writing poems.I sent all my poems to a literary corner in a very reputed newspaper, The Prajatantra founded by eminent freedom fighter and Ex Chief Minister of Orissa, Shri Harekrishna Mahtab. I would spend sleepless nights, awaiting the publication of my poems. But despite my patient wait, the moment never came. My vocabulary was very limited at that time. Then I thought that perhaps they weren’t publishing my poems because there were no difficult words; so I took out a dictionary, chose some difficult words, wrote a poem using them and sent it to the magazine. I was definite that it would be published. They didn’t publish it. I kept waiting. I thought, difficult words they didn’t publish, easy words they didn’t publish; that means I am not a good poet. But I never gave up hope.
One day, my father was in his office at school. As he browsed through the newspaper he saw my name – Pratibha Das (I changed One day, my father was in his office at school. As he browsed through the newspaper he saw my name – Pratibha Das (I changed my surname after my marriage to Ray), Class 6, Balikuda High School. He wondered, who this Pratibha Das could be? I also saw it in the newspaper in my class. The moment I got the news, I ran out of the confines of my classroom into the Principal’s room, my father’s room. Father and daughter were overjoyed and with my father’s b lessings , that is how it all began.