I’m rather ashamed to say and shamed that the shame comes so late; that Im not very literate in the language we speak at home, Thamil. I never got to study it at school, my mother believing that we could use school as an opportunity to pick up a third language, Hindi, while Tamil, would as a matter-of-course, be learnt at home. She did make a lot of attempts during every long summer holiday to bring out the elementary texts and give us a start. Sadly, every holiday, it was back to the beginning and we hardly made progress. It was not until I was in my ripe 30s that I felt the need to know more of the language and enrolled with a teacher for some classes. We did make a little progress but the classes came to a stop for reasons I cannot recall. On and off, after that, I have read a book here and there. But this year, I will read only or mostly Tamil fiction. And to help with that resolve, I have made it public. And will note down whatever books I read. I intend to start with racy fiction that will help me keep reading.
Anyone have any suggestions for a good read , please do make a comment at the bottom.
Books I have read so far:
Sujatha : Pahal kozhai – A murder set in Bangalore and the investigations by the young widow and a police inspector, who I suspect, is part of a series .
Balakumaran: Short biographical stories about actresses Savithri and Suhasini who seems to be a personal friend. One story about a ‘different’ , upright veterinary student who encounters Whitaker too at his crocodile farm.
Ashoka Mitran: Maniyosai –Short stories that are rather vague and incomplete. Meant to start a chain of thought in one?
Balakumaran : Thirumana theevu. The travails of debt ridden families. He writes rather movingly of the thoughts of the girl whose father has left behind a large debt which she has no way of clearing. She wakes up thinking of it and it burdens her day. And the way she battles with it and comes to terms with life.
Nelluku Iraitha neer: A smart youngster from a ‘isai vellala ‘ family comes to stay with his aunt in Kumbakonam. Transition from unbaked clay to a fine young man of clear principles and a yogic way of life is helped by two people, his unlettered yet philosophic athai and his school teacher. They are the people who water this seed and bring it to flower. A guide for many young men who can easily go astray.
Pathu second mutham: The title is very racy, but the clue word is racy. The book is about the travails of a young sprinter from Srirangam who is being coached by her mama to run the 100m Nationals in less than 10 secs and beat the national record.
She is very unexposed to the world and he takes complete charge until they reach Delhi for the Asiad. The uncle is rude to a reporter, who in revenge decides to take over the girl.
The underbelly of life with all its meanness exposed is hard to stomach and I skimmed through the second half of the book. But admire Sujatha, for such deep knowledge of the world and human nature.
All this I managed to read from the Holroyd Council Library in Australia.
But back home, its going slow.
Arthamulla Valvu – Suki Sivam
Short readable essays on every day life. One that stays in my mind is about gifting. When one gives a gift, one has to let go of the gift. Can we dictate how that gift is used – often, rarely, never – or, something that hurts the giver; passed on to someone else. Suki Sivam says No, let go. It has to be an anballipu; not a parisuallipu.
Kannigal Ezhu per – Indra Soundarajan
This is a very gripping, fast moving story that has kept me enthralled for the last month. It is based on the seven goddesses or saptha kannigal, who are incarnations of Amman.
Brahmi, Maheswari, Sowmari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani, Chamundi, the seven goddesess; each fierce and bestowing special gifts on the worshipper.
To bring alive these goddesses, the author has created a modern day story, set in the age of cellphones. A poor temple pujari has seven daughters, Ramya, Maheswari, Gowri, Vaishnavi, Varalakshmi, Indira, Chamundeswari, and he despairs of ever getting them married. An astrologer tells him to build a temple to the sapta kannigal and their marriages will take place.
So , he goes to Kannipatii, a small remote village without roads or electricity, with his seven daughters and his guru, a 90 year old wise man. How they disover the legends of the goddesses, try to trace their idols, how their attempts are foiled by an evil magic man who harnesses forces of evil, how they meet their destined husbands is an intricate andenjoyable story.
Interspersed are many aspects of Hinduism and Brahmanism. The benefits of yoga are explored and there are a great many explanations of Hindu practices rituals and beliefs.
An interesting read.