Books from Chennai

I’ve been constantly asking friends to buy tamil literature books that I couldn’t get here in the US and they have been sending them in regular instalments. Now I seem to have books for more than a year’s worth of reading as I’m still waiting for to the next set to arrive.

Last week, some more books from Chennai, arrived. And I was waiting to get my hands all over them. This set includes this year’s most talked about books in The Chennai Book Fair 2006. The most expected was Aathavan’s Shortstory Collection with which I now own all of Aathavan’s works published recently. I know I’ve been rambling about Aathavan for sometime now and that’s because of a simple reason, thamizh kurum nallulagam has missed a great writer and given him to the floods. I have just started to read this one but I’ve to say Kizhakku Pathippagam has done a noble job of compiling the aathavan’s shortstories to feed his hungry fans. Indra Parthasarathy’s foreword where he talks about his student Aathavan, clearly details the sorrow of missing a great writer.

Aathavan had a unique style which I couldn’t compare to anyone before or even after him. I have this feeling that no one, literally no one details the middle class urban life as we see and live it. Sujatha to a large extent came closer to this. However, some of his urban stories moved away from the middle-class life that some(!!) of us lived. They moved away into a fantasy world which makes you earn for a middle-class life like that. Sample, the scene where Arvind Swamy smokes before his mom in Roja. Didn’t most(!!) of us think, what a cool idea it is to have a mom like that ? Whether its morally/physically wrong or right, didn’t we feel that the conversation they had in that scene, however exaggerated it seemed, was so damn cool. That’s Sujatha. Aathavan was a little different. He wrote and wrote about the urban family life and he wrote it just like that. Just like that. The exaggerations were minimal. In this arena, we don’t have a author in Tamil, parallel to Aathavan.

In Chennai Book Fair 2005, when I was in Kizhakku Pathipagam stall, a co-blogger introduced me to a gentleman, Era Murukan. While I knew nothing about him, to my surprise, he knew about Lazy Geek and spoke in length about Tamil writings. He said he worked for a software company and was extremely humble. As a foot note, he also mentioned that he wrote a book which was published by Kizhakku Pathipaggam. Though I believed it, the writers whom I’ve met before was nothing like him. He wasn’t dressed in a Veshti/Jibba and didn’t have a jolna bag like me. I moved on after talking to him. Now when I read his Moondru Viral, I wish I read this book a year back. Amazing details and vivid descriptions. Will complete the book and will certainly put up a post on this book.

Alpha is also one of the books that came along in this set. I am still awaiting to get Sujatha’s Collection Of Plays and Sujatha Kaelvi Pathil Part 1 and 2. Though I’ve read most, infact all, of Sujatha’s plays, this one will be in my collection. Sujatha virtually wrote all his plays only for Poornam Vishwanathan. Though Sujatha’s plays are unknown to the outside world, his play named Dr. Narendiranin Vinotha Vazhakku (The Weird Case Of Dr. Narendran) is a class apart. If only theatres groups like EVAM could play such unique plays, the world outside Chennai would discover a playwright in Sujatha.

A zillion thanks to Ramki for getting these books straight from the publishers.

18 thoughts on “Books from Chennai

  1. I recently had the golden chance to meet Sujatha in a marriage..I had a copy of katradhum petradhum in my hand and happily took his autograph…

    His scientific short story collection were very interesting … basically the ones written 30 years back are still relevant and fresh… Thanks to Uyirmai for coming up with world class print and cover..

  2. his scientific short story collection is good but i think nothing compares to his katrathum petrathum(part1 and 2)

  3. //Arvind Swamy smokes before his mom in Roja. Didn’t most(!!) of us think, what a cool idea it is to have a mom like that ?//

    oru vAsagam endrAlum thiruvAsagam

  4. Good to know about Aathavan. What happened to him exactly?

    The comparison to Sujatha was OK. But Roja is a movie, that too Mani Ratnam’s, and hence is not a good example.

  5. icarus, nandri. !!

    Prabhu Karthik, I’m trying to re-collect oonjal.

    Rand Ramble, he died in a freak accident while taking bath in a river. follow the link of Athavan to kamadenu.com page on this post and it tells you this.

    Tilo, I’m happy you read that and yeah its one of the unsung books.

  6. Sujatha’s Kariyellam shenbagapoo is one of my favorite. In that novel there is character which analyses naatupura paatu. One of the song goes like “kuchi kuchi raakamma…”

    Now we know who inspired Mani, Rahman, Vairamuthu to keep that song in that movie.

  7. era murugan writes some excellent stories – good you discovered him.. go on, readh era’s works – they are quite refreshing.

    Yes, aadhavanin maraivu namakkelaam periya izhapputhaan.. Yen paer Ramaseshan was simply superb – romba arumaiyanaa kadhai otam.. mmmm

  8. There are a lot of similarities between Asokamithran’s and Aathavan’s stories. AM himseld had written about this. Aathavan was good at reflecting the urban middle class. His short story collection has many good stories.

    Era Murukan is an accomplished writer, Lazy. He has been writing for many years now. Moondru Viral was good except for the last chapter. Since you are still reading it, no spoilers. He has a blog in case you didn’t know http://vembanattukkaayal.blogspot.com/ .

  9. hi lg,
    “Dr.narendran’s vinoda vazhakku” is really a good play written by sujatha. have u read “silapathigaram”? has it been publised?

  10. Of course, Indira Parthasarathy, Ku. Pa. Rajagopalan, R. Choodamani, Ku. Azhagirisamy, Vaasanthi and zillions of others have written about the tamil middle class.

    Sujata’s writings have rarely come close in portraying a honest picture of the middle class (e.g., madhyamar, where the issues dealt with are mostly upper class brahminical ones). Don’t mistake me, I am a big fan of him, and there are several gems in the dumpster of his writings, but when it comes to serious literature, most of his works fall short. The unfortunate is that for most people serious tamil writing begins and ends with him.

    –venkat

  11. Wonder if you were as enthusiastic about reading Tamil Literature when you were here in India. Ghar ki murgi dal barabar, they say in Hindi.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: