T r e a d Softly... YOU MIGHT TRIP ON TEXT

Monday, April 25, 2011

Just remembered this that happened many months ago...

Author Shreekumar Varma, buys new books to donate for Aviva Great Wall of Education presented by The Hindu in Chennai on Monday. Photo: S.S. Kumar


We will not look at the chronological order.
The first pic happened when my MA classmate Namasivayam's son got married and we had a grand reunion of dear friends, including Bobby from Bombay and Chengu from Thrissur. It was one of those scintillating moments that happen once in a very long while.

The second pic was taken when my college professor George K. Mathew's debut novel was released. It was once again a roomful of nostalgia, and everyone spoke about GKM who more than a month earlier had held the first copy of his book in his hand and died the next day--- as though he'd been waiting only for that. 20 years ago, he'd called me one day and said I'm retiring from college and I would like you to take my place for a year until a professor who's on a sabbatical returns. And that was how I taught Literature at MCC. This time the publisher of Helios Books, Gitanjali, called me and said I wanted GKM to read from his book. Now that he's no more, will you take his place? And I did. For the second time. CPI (M) Gen Sec Prakash Karat, one of GKM's old students, released the book, and I co-ordinated and read from the novel. It was a great evening.

The third pic was---you won't believe this!-- again full of nostalgia and classmates. This time it was a slice of school life. Thirty years after we left school we'd had a reunion where we released a CD. The songs were written in Tamil, English, Malayalam and Hindi by me. Music was by a classmate and songs were sung by all of us. I sang the Malayalam song. Now, this one was forty years after passing out, and we again released a CD, with even more songs--- other songs in Kannada and Telugu were written by others and also translated from my lyrics in English. It was great fun. The photo shows an aside during the meet in the school auditorium.

At  a meeting at the University of Madras' Malayalam and Hindi Depts, I released a book of poet A. Ayyappan's poems translated into Hindi from the Malayalam by Santosh Alex, who's a gifted and prolific translator. That's pic no 4. Somehow, I have been involved for the past three or four months in both literary as well academic events. So I've been able to meet several interesting people.

Like Sangeetha Shinde Tee, for instance. Who's with me in the fifth pic. I released her book of short stories, A Moral Murder & Other Stories. The stories are set in the Nilgiris, Coonoor to be exact, and cover many subjects including love, mystery and ordinary life. Sitting with her in the pic and reading from her book is Jamie who I met for the first time at a dinner when he walked all the way from Mandaveli to Boat Club Road after arriving in Chennai on a train from Bangalore. It was his second day in India! Sangeetha and her husband David are a dear couple.

And, finally, the sixth pic. Chronologically too, that's the latest one. It was at the showing of a short film in Malayalam where I was part of a panel discussion. The leader of the panel was famous Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi director K. S. Sethumadhavan. He made memorable films like Odayil Ninnu, Julie, Marupakkam and Jeevikkan Marannupoya Sthree. The moment I came up he said: Do you remember the last time we met in the Chandamama office? Did anyone make a film out of your story? I thought he'd forgotten! It had been more than 20 years ago. I'd just published a story for The Heritage, published by the Chandamama group and edited by noted writer Manoj Das. Mr Sethumadhavan had wanted to film the story then. My friend Viswanatha Reddi was the publisher. Time passed, and we'd gone our separate ways, as it often happens. Well, this pic too unleashed a mini typhoon of nostalgia.

Which probably is the basic characteristic of this post. Wouldn't you say?

You might have wondered at the significance of the title. It's just a way of telling you that I haven't abandoned my blog, and I'm back again. Ahaaa!