This dude has been in the back of my head for quite some time. Puthumaipitthan. Felt like writing about him.
The dad of one of my friends recommended him to me. Saying my style of writing with sarcasm reminded him of Puthumaipitthan. He told me to read his short story Kadavulum Kandhasami Pillaiyum, saying I will like it.
I did read that short story and it was phenomenal. A story of what happens when Lord Shiva appears suddenly one day in front of a low-key magazine publisher.
The very first paragraph of that story got me hooked. A guy would be standing on the road contemplating how to get home. He will have a certain amount of change in his pocket, with which he cannot take a rickshaw. Alternatively, he will think if he goes without a ticket in a bus, he can get to another station from which he can take a rickshaw or something like that.
“And at that moment, Lord Shiva appeared in front of him!”
That’s how the story starts and it’s kickass. It’s witty and has so many tongue-in-cheek moments. And at the same time, it doesn’t mock the concept of God in a typical atheist manner. It’s different. And I love the climax!
I love his other short story – Saaba Vimosanam (Liberation from the Curse). It focuses on what happens between Ahalya and Gautama after Lord Rama liberates her. (Yup! The Ahalya who gets cursed for making love to Indra, when he came in the guise of her husband.) Loved this story again for its ending. He makes you think if Ahalya was indeed liberated or was the curse better for her. And it showed me that here was a guy, who wrote in Tamil and was not stuck in a rut.
But, I’ve also been puzzled by some of his other short stories like Ponnagaram or Kaanchanai. (The latter short story has nothing to do with the recent horror film by Mr.Lawrence, apart from the fact that it is horror genre.) I say “puzzled” because I find it hard to figure out the intent of these stories. Strongly feel the need for a forum to discuss short stories specifically.
One other good short story that comes to mind is Oru Naal Kazhindhadhu (A Day Passes). It deals with a single day in the life of a lower middle-class man, who finds it real hard to make ends meet. And how that day gets by is described with vivid details.
Some of his other short stories feel like they were written in haste though. In the sense that they have good buildup but abrupt endings. But, overall, Puthumaipitthan is a dude I would have loved to make friends with had I lived in the early 1900s. And he’s definitely someone I would recommend if you’re starting to read Tamil literature.