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Thiruvananthapuram Tamil Sangam Showers Its Love On Varalotti

Discussion in 'Varalotti Rengasamy's Short & Serial Stories' started by varalotti, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    THIRUVANANTHAPURAM TAMIL SANGAM SHOWERS ITS LOVE ON VARALOTTI

    I was invited by Thiruvananthapuram Tamil Sangam (TTS) to deliver a talk on “Love For Fellow Human Beings In Short Stories.”

    TTS is organising a monthly meet called “Kathai Velai” (Story Time) to discuss the short stories of writers. Every month a writer will be chosen and some of the stories written by him will be discussed.

    Last month my book Visaranai (short story collection) was chosen for discussion. That was their 99<sup>th</sup> Kathai Velai. So for their 100<sup>th</sup> Kathai Velai, I was invited along with a few other, more distinguished writers to talk.

    I was made to sit on the dais next to Neela. Padmanabhan, a big name in the literary circles. Very recently his novel “Ilai Yuthir Kaalam” had got him the much coveted Sahithya Academy Award.

    I had to talk to him in whispers as we were right on the stage. A lean man in his late sixties with a white beard and an unmistakable writer’s look, Neela. Padmanabhan is without any pretensions. He gave me the liberty of calling him on the phone anytime.

    Well, I can write about how the meeting proceeded from one subject to the other, how the speakers spoke, how the audience responded, what was the menu.. and so on. Instead I will describe a few touching, magic and defining moments as experienced by me.

    1

    I started my presentation quizzing the audience about the most unique feature of Tamilnadu and Tamil culture. I helped them saying that it is the oldest culture around, Tamil being one of the oldest languages which did not lean so heavily on Sanskrit as other languages do No, I said. All wrong answers.

    I told them Tamilnadu might enter the Guiness Book of World Records for the devious record of being the only place on earth where it requires the force of law to make people learn their own mother tongue. The only culture where still people are actively debating whether their own mother tongue or the language of some past colonial rulers should be the medium of instruction. In Tamilnadu you can get away with accusing a man of impotency, a woman of her chastity, any one of her dishonesty. But you cannot get away with accusing a Tamilian that he did not know English.

    2

    It is naïve to think that the writers who write moving, touching stories are not themselves moved. When I narrated my short stories, The Promise and The Challenge (You Can’t Read This Without Crying..) at the precise moment, I could not speak. I did not want to risk an emotional breakdown. But the audience understood my silence and my tears far better than my words.


    3

    We were hopelessly running late on that day. We started the programme almost an hour behind the schedule. So every speaker was asked to cut down his speaking time. While my predecessor did not pay heed to this request, I promptly cut down my presentation by half. Even then I was not sure.
    In the last five minutes of my speech I stopped and asked the Chairman, whether I have a few more minutes. Before the Chairman could answer the audience shouted at me to go ahead and talk for whatever time I wanted to.
    Even a standing ovation could not have given me that kind of happiness.

    4

    I heard a touching story from one of the organisers. The former treasurer of the Association, in his late sixties, had read my book, Jannal and was carrying it to the market one day to be handed over to some other official of the association. But as he got into the auto-rickshaw he complained of chest pain and asked the auto driver to drive to the nearest hospital. But he passed away before the auto could reach its destination.

    His hands were gripping my book Jannal during the final moments of life. What did he want to tell me? What was his comments on my stories? How am I going to know?

    5

    We had a late, simple luch around 245 PM. Another writer friend and I drove to the museum to have a glimpse of Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings. I have seen enough of them. But every time I see them I am sure something is happening inside me. RV uses very dark colours which are not so clearly contrasted.

    But this gives a kind of clarity and beauty to the pictures. In a way painting and writing are almost the same.

    The art-form is the same, only the medium and the instruments are different. Good writers do not use strong words. They use very simple words but yet could convey very profound feelings.

    Another painting which disturbed me the most was entitled “Shyness”. It was not by Raja Ravi Varma. It was by some other artist. Sorry, I forgot the name.

    This was also done in very dark colours without much of contrast. A scantily clad woman standing by the side of a lamp defies the very concept of shyness by the feelings she has shown in her face. In the same room there were a few nude paintings. But they were not impressive. The softness and the mild fear shown in the womans face is highly disturbing.

    After we came out of the museum, I told my writer friend to wait for me and ran back to see that painting again.

    One has to see it to believe what I have written here.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2008
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Here's a picture.
     

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  3. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Here's another!
     

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  4. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    And here's one more.

    The man sitting next to me with a white beard is Neela Padmanabhan,a great writer and Sahithya Academy Award winner.
     

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  5. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    Sridhar,

    Congrats on the roaring success.:clap:clap:clap:thumbsup:yes:

    Thanks for promptly sharing it. was actually waiting to read about the post..(now don't ask me why can't i see you at HE..let me tell, you it is very hard for me to read serials..but i do peep now and then...)

    first a :bowdown..for describing Tamilnadu...I am guilty as charged but have learnt to at least read tamil well enough to appreciate jannal and other stories, of yours. (BTW, what would have been running in his mind, was he showing that as a solution to the other person..??)

    Thanks for sharing neela.padmanabhan's snaps with us..definitely a writer's looks as you say...

    could visualise the painting...would have liked to see a picture of the same...
     
  6. sunkan

    sunkan Gold IL'ite

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    dear sridhar,
    congrats is a small world for a man who has worked his way to where he is so he is sharing his happiness not his sorrows here so whenever i see these occassions and so many related stories about you i feel i am among the people who appreciate and know u, now i post a pic which i feel is u among us..sunkan
    [​IMG]you are the hidden light among us spreading a rainbow like aura around..sunkan
     
  7. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Shanthi,

    Now I have learnt one thing for sure. If I want Shanti's presence in any of threads/forums, then I should be going places, literally and figuratively.

    Not only you, but also yours truly is guilty as charged. Though of course I studied Tamil till I was in PUC (those days equivalent of PUC) I chose English as a medium of instruction. But those were the 70s. And I was a child. (My wife tells me that I am still one). And English Medium in those days was quite rare in Madurai. I still remember when I was in 6th standard, students from the other sections would rush to our class during intervals. For them somebody studying everything in English was as rare a phenomenon as the one-horned rhino.

    And he was very soft and straight forward. I know writers who have won some local awards and walking with their heads in wrong places. But this man is unassuming and moves freely with every one.

    Please do see it. meanwhile Thiruvananthapuram ILites can throw some light on the picture.

    regards,
     
  8. Ushakrishnan64

    Ushakrishnan64 Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,
    I would have loved to greet you in Tamil..but for my English keyboard..
    Hearty Congratulations on this honour..100th Kathai Velai is a milestone, so they have invited Varalotti to be there. An e-standing ovaiton from IL:clap.

    The bird's eye view of the meeting expresses volumes. I am so happy to be a part of IL, so close to such a wonderful person as you.

    Regards
    USHA
     
  9. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sundari,
    Thanks for the elegant way in which you praised me. And that was one beautiful picture.
    But I would like to give my explanation as well. Friends like you and other ILites are the light and colour behind me.I reflect you outward. Howzzat?
    BTW, I liked the way you described the problem peculiar to womenfolk. I wanted to write a page in reply. But was afraid that I may be offending the women who posted there.
    That was a good write up.
    love,
     
  10. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Usha,
    thanks a lot. But I am not a Tamil fanatic. I love English as well. That's why I have written an equal number of stories in Tamil and in English.
    I also know that English as a common language is the thread that connects us all - the ever growing community of 16000 plus ILites.
    You, I and people of our age have somehow escaped. We know Tamil, we see tamil movies, read Tamil books and any day can converse in Tamil. In fact at the meeting I spoke for twenty minutes in the purest Tamil. And all the speakers did that.
    I am worried about the present day children. Even the children who study here in Tamilnadu conveniently omit Tamil. You will be surprised that there are schools who impose fines on children if they talked in Tamil in school. I know parents who take pride in telling their friends and relatives, that their children did not know Tamil.
    I am worried only about that.

    Thanks, Usha for the standing ovation. To sit near Neela Padmanaban and to be reckoned as a writer - it was all Her blessings. This is the first ever meeting that I was invited in my capacity as a writer.

    I am also happy to be a part of IL, so close to such a wonderful person like you.
    regards,
     

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