When the Madrasi Chick speaks, Madrasi boys listen. She asks one to tell one’s readers what books one’s read of Indian Authors. Before that, one would like to ask her what defines an Indian author? Therein lies the answer to all questions, one thinks.
All right. One shall not get smart alecky, here. One shall, because one likes what the Madrasi Chick stands for, and all, get right down to business. (It’s going to be a long transaction.)
One’s dad and uncles always had big books. One was therefore familiar with the Robert Ludlums and the Sidney Sheldons and the Enid Blytons of this world. But, one accepts, they were not Indians by any stretch of one’s imaginations. (Even two’s and more’s.) One remembers reading pieces of Ruskin Bond and RK Narayanan in one’s CBSE English Non-detail textbooks. One also remembers stories written by Kushwanth Singh, of which 1 has stayed in one’s mind for a long time. This one is about Kushwanth’s grandmother, and her portrait, and about KS’s reflecting upon his grandmother’s youth, and how she might have seduced his grandfather. One still likes the sketchy memory of the story, especially because one also had a grandmother who always looked like a grandmother.
One tries to jog one’s memory. One comes up a cropper. One therefore quickly skips through one’s formative years, and lands in one’s late teenage and early adult-hood. One remembers reading a lot of Tamil books, for one had by then become quite obsessed about it. One remembers CID Chandru [because, a) CID Chandru bore one’s name, and more importantly, b) was extremely fun], Thupariyum Saambhu, Justice Jagannathan – all by Devan. This Devan having come highly recommended by one’s family, especially one’s dad, one wasted no time reading him.
One also read a little of Bhaarathi, and having failed to make sense of most of his poetry, decided to attack foreign shores. One by then was in college, (during which one remembers taking up Mouni, and not understanding his complex sentence constructions and not able to put a face to his characters, let him pass. One still regrets one’s mistake)
By now, one has finished year 2 of college, and is looking to become a copywriter. One chances upon a book – The Craft of Copywriting – by a certain June Valladeres. (Yes, Indian.) One picks up the book, and realises June is at-least 40 years old, and therefore not the hot chick one envisioned. But her book teaches one some basics and tells one that one could probably do it much better. One therefore treasures this book.
One now re-enters one’s Bhaarathi phase. This time, having a slightly better understanding of the world and love and passion and all, one is able to appreciate the doped genius better.
One has now begun blogging. And discovers the blog world is but Tamil Brahmanargal Social Club, set up under the auspices of the Tamizhargal Maha Sangam. One discovers that one’s passion for the Tamil Language and its history is not an aberration. One likes this blog world now. One also discovers Ponniyin Selvan by Kalki has many fans, and one is therefore one of the family. One makes a post about Ponniyin Selvan which will continue to get comments till one kills the blog.
After PS, one is on a Kalki trip. One therefore reads with much haste, Parthiban Kanavu and Sivagamiyin Sabhadham. One discovers that one of one’s blog friends has been translating SS on her blog. One likes the blog world even better.
All along, though, one has been quiet about one of one’s most favourite author. S. Muthiah. If one man can bring to life city’s past, it’s he. Madras Discovered, Madras Re-discovered were bought and consumed in as short a time as possible. One also followed up on one’s history obsession with books about the tamils – S. Nilakanta Shastri, Kanakasabhai Pillai, P.T. Srinivasa Iyengar wrote books that made reading as difficult as wading into coagulating sugar-syrup. But one did read them, because one liked Tamil history.
One would like to take a moment here and mention one’s great grandfather. One’s very preliminary research, corroborated by a certain Duke University’s researcher’s extensive one, shows that the above mentioned great g. was Tamil’s first novelist. Pandit SM. Natesa Shastri wrote many books, among them a collection of Folklore from Souther India, titled Tales of the Sun/Dravida Naatu Kadhaigal As an epigraphists under Robert Sewell, SMNS also brought to current circulation many stories considered AWOL.
One thinks this page has gone on long enough, and complex enough. So, one will just tag the next few bloggers and end.