There is something or the other happening in the city, some activity which is of interest to someone – not just music concerts or dances, but lectures, talks, heritage and nature walks, even marathon walks (more on this later). Something to interest everyone. The release of a new publication is just one of these.
And interesting things do happen here, too.
September 8 was the 95th birthday of the prolific writer, Devan, whose immortal creations include ‘Thuppariyum Sambu’. When ‘Kizhakku Padippakham’ decided to republish five books of Devan, writer Charukesi, who heads the Devan Memorial Trust, decided to make it an occasion. With Badri Seshadri of New Horizon Media Private Limited, (of which 'Kizhakku Pathippakam' is a part) extending his full cooperation, Charukesi made it an evening to remember at the Sivakami Pethachi Auditorium. Cricket lovers might remember Badri as one of the founders of CricInfo.com
In his welcome speech, Charukesi mentioned the newsletters that are brought out regularly by the English publication houses, which announce their new releases. He thought it would be a good idea if newsletters in Thamizh could also be published with similar announcements of new writings.
Writer Asoka Mitran released the books which were received by writer Vannanilavan, who has this wonderful policy (in the light of the speech to come) of not making speeches. After releasing the books, Asoka Mitran, who is 77, spoke for about half an hour. But what his speech had to do with the day remains a mystery. He drew comparisons between Devan and his contemporary Kalki, not totally flattering. He pointed out that the diffident nature of Devan was in stark contrast to the ebullience in his writings - the only relevant remark. And went off at a tangent, providing great entertainment to me and my companions.
The highlight of the day was a first. The speeches were followed by the dramatised reading of a short story by Devan, called ‘Parvathiyin Sangalpam’, by Gurukulam Boys’ Company. No sets, but the cast did have a bit of make up on, and wore costumes to place the story in the 1950s. They each had a copy of the play from which they read out their parts, well, acted their parts would be more appropriate. Obviously the cast had had no time to learn the lines by heart, since the function had been organised in a short four days, and the deficit was camouflaged by this ploy. The reading took about an hour. The actors were all amateurs, busy with other professions - one of the ladies works with BSNL, another person at a bank, and the young girl is a student at REC, they said.
The dramatised reading gave me an idea. What if more Thamizh works were dramatized and recorded on audio cassettes, with the actors reading out the parts, in today’s culture of ‘No time to read’, they might go down well with booklovers. (Just like the audio cassettes of famous novels which are so popular in the West). And many may be tempted to actually read the originals.
The recently published volumes, Lakshmi Kadaksham, Mr. Vedantam, Justice Jagannathan, Kalyani and CID Chandru, were on display and for sale at the venue.