Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

A salute to the spirit of Raphael


Life snatched a lot from him. But T D Raphael is living life to the lees. He never succumbed to the challenges life threw before him.Raphael, librarian of Panambukadu village library, lost his ability to hear and speak at a very young age. Since then life has been a battle for him. And he fought with sheer determination and perseverance. It is his love for words that gave him the energy to fight all the odds of life.Though his love for words knew no bounds, Raphael could get himself acquainted with words only when he was 15. Since then, he has been a frequent visitor to the Panambukadu village library.


His passion took him a long way. He has written 18 short stories and 22 poems. His first poem was his reaction against the criticisms he had to face for his congenital anomalies. Short stories followed.“Death is the last word for a man who does not have any other way in life,” he wrote in one of his works, keeping in mind the severe setbacks he has battled against all his life.
Raphael’s efforts and passion for words got recognised when the office bearers of Panambukadu village library handed him the keys of the library. For his many services, the State Social Welfare department honoured him in 2004.

- by Shalet Jimmy

published in ' The New Indian Express'

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hey! Is this the solution you would offer

                                                    
I got a call yesterday and it was one of my colleague. I was surprised to see his call as it was past midnight. Usually, I do not entertain calls after eight provided it is of any emergency and I hardly do get any calls after half past eight. I was again surprised for he was just a good colleague and we got along well. But we were not friends. I picked up the call.

The moment I picked up, he said “ Shalet, please do apologize for this late call and I am a bit drunk too. If you do not mind, I would like to sing a song.”

Singing a song and that too in the middle of the night. But I could not say 'No' to him.

I said “ You are always welcome.” He also assured me that I would not regret for listening to him. He was absolutely right. He could sing beautifully and he sang with all his heart Kabhi Kabhi Mere dil mein khayal aatha hai Ke Jaise tujhko banaya gaya hai mere liye.( Often I think that you are made for me)

hmm....something brewing

When he finished his rendition I asked “ What's up? Second break up.”

He said “ Yes.”

There was nothing new this time. The girl dumped him, not because she did not love him but, because she had to succumb to her parents wishes. (Hey! I am not going to write what went wrong between them)

We talked and talked. But somehow I got a cue that he was running away from a lot of things. Though I did not want to poke my nose into other's affairs, out of sheer curiosity I asked “ What is actually bothering you?”

He opened up as if he wanted to make a clean breast of everything to somebody and It happened to be me.

His father died when he was just 11 years old. He was so close to his father. He was nothing without his father and his death was an utter shock for him. For many years, his was against his mother as he was made to believe by his relatives that his mother was the cause of his father's death. But when he came out that misconception, it was too late. He has grown too older and was not longer a child. But he was craving for caress and touch.

Though he is fond of his mother, he said “ I could not establish an emotional connection with her and that's how I fell for my first girl friend. I was never deprived of physical contact when I was with her. But it lasted only for three years.I did not care what sort of a girl was she. I always craved for 'touch' and she gave me that incessantly.” She dumped him for somebody.

But with this second girl, he shared a platonic relationship and his life had become topsy – turvy when she left her.

“ I need pampering and caressing. What should I do? I cannot lament all the time, when each one of us leave. I do not need a temporary umbrella but a permanent roof. But I don't give a damn about marriage,” he said.
I did not know what to say

“ You should go and get married to a girl who could love you and be with you all the time,” I said Though I was not sure I think he was quite convinced with my answer.

“ I am not employed. Who would marry such a guy,” he asked.

“ Hey! You resigned your job and I am sure you are going to land in good job. You will definitely get a wife,” I said. I did not have anything else to say.

Though he kept on saying that he did not believe in marriage,my instincts told me that “ Get married soon” was what he wanted to hear from me.That's why he accepted it without any further explanations and denials.

I really do not know whether I was right in my answer to him. But that was all I had to say.






Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A writer lives here - Published in THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS by Shalet Jimmy


Ashtamoorthi K V has become a name to conjure with, though when pursuing his passion quietly through the years, he had little thoughts of winning accolades. This short story writer, hailing from the cultural capital of Kerala, commenced his writing career as a novelist. But it was in the genre of short story writing that he made his own mark. Ashtamoorthi started writing at a very young age and was much of a dabbler in poetry in his formative years. “Though I started writing at a very young age, I glossed over my passion for writing for long years. My stories first got published in the college magazine,” he says. It came as a surprise to him, when one of his short stories was published  in Mathrubhumi weekly in 1981 without any hassles, which also proved to be a turning point in his life as a writer. In 2010, his collected works was released by M T Vasudevan Nair. A new work, ‘Ayal Kathayezhuthan Pokukayanu’  is set to be published soon.



 Ashtamoorthi, who lives with his wife at Arattupuzha, Thrissur, was quite nostalgic while talking about his first published novel, ‘Rehearsal Camp’ where he had narrated the lives of drama artistes, who had come to perform for a festival, in the temple near his home. “They had come for a short stay in my out house and their lives intrigued me for a while, which soon transformed into a novel, the only novel I have written so far,” he says. He won the Kumkumam award for the same novel in 1982. When asked why he had given up novel writing, he says he got stuck in the craft of short story writing too deeply and applauds also came to him much easily in that medium that he got “apprehensive about treading the long winding path of novel writing”.


Ashtamoorthi has no regrets about not having created any character that has made a lasting impression on the readers’ mind. “It was always the situations that had a sway in my stories and not characters,” he says. He has always preferred to write in a simple way. “My  writing is not confusing for I never believed in complicating the readers’ experience or giving them any unwanted strain to comprehend what I have to say to them,” he says. Talking about the inspirations for his writing, he says he was amazed by the impact the city of ‘Bombay’ had on his life, during his stay there. In later times, it proved to be a fertile ground for his writing. “I grew up reading M T Vasudevan Nair’s works and it was definitely a source of inspiration,”  he says.


The writer also confides that he is quite apprehensive now a days as he feels he is repeating himself. “When many of my readers call me to appreciate my works, they would say that they could identify the author of the story from the style. They did not even have to look who has written the story. Though they say it as a compliment, I am afraid of typecasting myself,” he says. Though he has two awards to his credit, he says he was not awed by them. For him, winning the  awards were sheer accidents. He remembered that there were many instances when an award-winning author’s works did not reach the readers. Ashtamoorthi bagged Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for ‘Avan Veedu Vittu Pokunnu’ in 1992. ‘La Patha Kathakal’, ‘Kathasaaram’, ‘Pakal Veedu’, ‘Marana Siksha’ etc. are some of his other works. During his busy schedules, he has never forgotten to maintain a good circle of friends - Ashokan Cheruvil, another well-known writer in Malayalam whose camaraderie and works he enjoys, being the author’s dearest friend as well as trusted critic.


His columns for Janayugam news paper has had a wide readership. His blog www.ashtamoorthi.blogspot.com (Vicharam) has almost all of his works. Now that he has retired from SNA Oushadhasala Pvt. Ltd, where he was working as an accountant, Ashtamoorthi feels he can finally have ample time for his writings.


by Shalet Jimmy