A fine evening with author S Ramakrishnan

swf 2017I couldn’t attend any further SWF sessions after City of ghosts – screening , as I had other official commitments. Today is important, as the festival would be over by tomorrow. I went with my family as my wife was interested in ‘Surviving Parenthood‘ scheduled at 11:30.

Kannan and I went first to attend ‘Shape a Story with your Body‘ by R Chandran and Amy J Cheng. It included a bit of stretching and dancing. Later kids morphed themselves as seed, plant and trees. I took part in these activities as well – why not, I’m also a kid for my mom!

Shape a Story with your Body

Shape a Story with your Body

Later mother and son went to ‘Surviving Parenthood‘. Kannan came out with crabs and Pig. No No. They are craft items. Singapore encourages (in a way compel) its Citizens to marry and have kids. I could see these kind of family sessions in a nice environment as a way to support Government’s interest of family life. I couldn’t attend this session, not because of I’m very good parent already, I had to look after my 2 year old kid. We had a long walk (really long.. we walked for 60+ minutes), to get packed lunch.

bdr

Surviving Parenthood

Later in the afternoon Kannan and I went to ‘எழுதுவதா வேண்டாமா? இளம் தமிழ் எழுத்தாளரின் குழப்பம்’, a panel discussion by young Singapore Writers Elancharan GunasekaranAshwinii SelvarajGayathiri Ilango and Harini V moderated by S. Ramakrishnan. As usual Kannan was so furious at me for not allowing him to question the panel. It was a discussion between young Singaporean writers and a Senior Tamil writer. Whether there is content or not, controversy exist!

எழுதுவதா வேண்டாமா? இளம் தமிழ் எழுத்தாளரின் குழப்பம்

எழுதுவதா வேண்டாமா? இளம் தமிழ் எழுத்தாளரின் குழப்பம்

We attended ‘The Indomitable Irishry: Chronicling Ireland Through The Decades‘ by Rob Doyle, Gerald Dawe and Eilis Ni Dhuibhne (Éilís Ní Dhuibhne). Ireland was the country of focus in SWF, hence it is unfair not to attend any related sessions. I’m not aware of the Irish literature anyway. I could understand least part of the discussion only. Later I met Rob Doyle in the book shop during the Book signing.

The Indomitable Irishry: Chronicling Ireland Through The Decades

The Indomitable Irishry: Chronicling Ireland Through The Decades

We had a long, interactive discussion in offline later with S. Ramakrishnan at Esplanade. Barani coordinated this meeting and came up with this opportunity to Indian expats like me. It was an important session of my own private interest.

A fine evening

A fine evening

I’ve read the following couple of short stories collection by S. Ramakrishnan.

I purchased Desantri, which I forgot to bring when I moved from Chennai to Singapore. I haven’t read him in detail, especially the novels which is my interest. Jeyamohan occupies most of my table space with his Venmurasu. I’d added other works of S. Ra in this SWF. I’d be blogging my reading experiences one by one.

Tomorrow would be the last day of the event.

See you soon.

 

City of ghosts – screening

swf 2017I rushed back to SWF in the evening. I thought I can get a ticket for City of ghosts. After bustling around the ticket corner, I was able to get one, finally. It was a full house show!

This documentary talks about Raqqa, a city in Syria located in the bank of a river. It starts with peoples’ agitation against the ruling government. An opportunistic extremists group takes advantage of the fall of the Government, which later transforms itself as the Islamic State.

This movie talks in the perspective of anti-ISIS citizens of Syria from Raqqa. How they launched an online campaign to expose the atrocities to the world. Their efforts, losses are portrayed as a pinch of salt.

When they exposed ISIS to the world in its early days, world did not pay attention. Later they realize the risk of this group. As I hear this dialog in this movie, I recalled about India’s global effort to expose Pakistan. Even now, I could see global media, including Straits times, mention them as militants not terrorists!

Still, ‘the nation wants to know’ how an extremism is nourished by global Muslims, though it is clear that ISIS is not fighting or Islam, but for their own benefit. Countries like India, Indonesia, Malaysia lost their citizens (men & women) to this group. What makes them to nod their head?

Preview:

cityofghosts

A radio play on stage

Singapore Mappillai, SWF 2017

swf 2017I had a chance to attend a panel discussion and a drama performance here in SWF today.

Panel discussion is about speculative fiction (of Singapore), featuring Victor Fernando R Ocampo, Jon Gresham and Christina Sng. Though English novels are above my reading capacity, I do find important works here in Tamil as well. I wish I may write about it later, if I don’t forget.

Speculative Fiction Panel. Picture (c) Instagram @sgwritersfest

Speculative Fiction Panel. Picture (c) Instagram @sgwritersfest

Secondly, I had attended an interesting ‘drama reading’ and stage performance of a radio play, Singapore Mappillai, by Singapore Indian Theatre and Film Explorers. A typical 1980 styled plot was well presented by the group. The pronunciation with stress and pause was so good such that I could recall about All India Radio’s drama in my childhood. I enjoyed it so much. Good work, guys!

Singapore Mappillai, SWF 2017

Singapore Mappillai, SWF 2017

IMG_20171106_204949.jpg

Singapore Mappillai, SWF 2017

Singapore Mappillai, SWF 2017

Singapore Mappillai, SWF 2017

Singapore Mappillai, SWF 2017

Singapore Mappillai, SWF 2017

Story reading sessions at Singapore Writers Festival

swf 2017Kannan and I went to Singapore Writers Festival today at the Arts house, here in Singapore. In the previous year, I had attended this event in 2015, in which I had a chance to listen to a panel discussion that involves novelist Jeyamohan and lyricist Na Muthukumar. (It was first and last time meeting Na. Mu)

 

swf 2015

This time I was not sure about the experience, as I bring Kannan as well. Unfortunately events for kids in Tamil is comparatively lesser. It is pretty much difficult for him to stay muted, while his father was listening to stupid Tamil literature or philosophy!

swf 2017 1

We attended the story reading session ‘Tales from Moominvalley’. Kannan had a chance to listen to Paula Parviainen, Ambassador of the Embassy of Finland in Singapore, as she reads her favourite Moomin tale. We have been invited by the moomin doll in the Book Shop. Kannan was not so involved in the reading session but he was so interested in the activities. He was interested in getting moomin story books. I suggested him to try at library first. I promised him that I’ll buy for him if he likes it.

Photo: Moving Moomin photo by SWF Instagram

Photo: Moving Moomin photo by SWF Instagram

After a short break, we attended a book launch function New Titles by Epigram Books featuring Jennani Durai and Shelly Bryant, Singapore based fiction writers. Books of Singapore based Authors It was not for kids, so I hooded Kannan with a Tinkle comics, to save myself from his teasing after he lost his patience. We got a science fiction Launch Pad in this event. Once the attendees started throwing questions to authors, Kannan was so desperate to take part as well. I controlled him by saying it may not be the right session.

swf 2017 4

After another short break, we had a book launch session – Aiden Finds A Way– a pleasant story reading session by Leila Boukarim and illustrator Barbara Moxham. Kannan sat in the front row unlike me, yawning badly in the 3rd row. No one to control him, so he started questioning and conversing with the author and illustrator. I was so surprised to see, they engaged him so well. We got two of their publications Aiden Finds A Way and All too much for Oliver.

Leila Boukarim and illustrator Barbara Moxham in a story telling session. Picure (c) SWF official instragram

Leila Boukarim and illustrator Barbara Moxham in a story telling session. Picure (c) SWF official instragram

Later we had an interesting and long conversation about the event on our way back.

swf 2017 2

Jeyamohan’s Yayati and Fellow Indians’ Shah Jahan

While we are debating about Taj Mahal and Shah Jahan like never before, I came across an interesting novel Maamalar by Jeyamohan. This fiction work, based on Indian epic Mahabharata, portrays the character of coward Chandravamsa King, Yayati.

We all know about Yayati’s story in our childhood days. He is son of King Nahusha and an angel Asoka sundari.

About Yayati’s Lust

Although he was a kshatriya, he has been personified as a coward and lusty person in Indian puranic stories. Though he was married already, he accepts to marry Asura princes Sharmistha. Later, He marries Devyani, daughter of Shukracharya, the guru of Asuras. Devyani brings Sharmistha as her maid, with whom Yayati fall in ‘love’ and got Druhyu, Anu and Puru as sons.

When Devyani realized that he deceived her, she went back to her father’s ashram. This is an mind-blowing episode in Maamalar. As per this feminism fiction of Jeyamohan –  Yayati accepts his fault by saying, he went behind his lust of his uncontrolled senses. Neither he deny as if he is an ideal man, Nor he justify as a kshatriya king. He became totally submissive and accepts being cursed by Shukracharya.

Though he was cursed to be a old man, he gave his curse to his son Puru and gets his adolescence to enjoy more women. His love or lust or whatever it is, is fulfilled with Asrubintumati, another lady, before he took back his curse and died.

Shah Jahan’s love!

Shah Jahan is a great lover – thats what I’ve been taught in Indian schools and stories. His love on his wife Mumtaz is not something we can explain easily. We need to write as beautiful as Taj Mahal, don’t we?

Only when he has enormous love on his wife, he can build such a beautiful monument for his dead wife. Though he was jailed by his son later, he spent his last days by looking at the monument until his soul departed.

shah jahan mumtaz (c) poemtour.com

But you may know this earlier, as many hinduva guys used to say this. But it was written by some Dr Irfan Zafar in his article It was never Love.

Leave our bed time stories and badly written Indian history text books apart, It is interesting to know that Mumtaz was Shah Jahan’s 4th wife out of his 7 wives. So he was married before he marry Mumtaz, He married even after Mumtaz.

Mumtaz was not Shah Jahan’s bride. He was wife of someone else. Jahan killed him to marry her!

In other words, he was dating Mumtaz for a long time and finally murdered the poor husband to satisfy his hunger (Lust). Ever heard the word morality? Making babies, as we all know, is our favorite sport.

http://nation.com.pk/columns/02-Nov-2013/it-was-never-love

Mumtaz live through the pain for fifteen years, until she died in her 14th delivery. Interestingly Dr Irfan makes a wit by saying, Shah Jahan married Mumtaz’s sister, as a final ending of his wife with Mumtaz!

Love 💕

It is not scarce to hear love stories in our youthful India. We have pairs from Ambikapathi-Amarapathi to Elavarasan-Divya. The number of unaccomplished romantic missions are increasing everyday. Right or wrong – is a different question, but we see people, even commit suicide for their love.

While all these political discussions make a debate cloud all over, I recall about one of our Tamil women of Muthollayiram, who says the following about his lover.

My dear elders, with a garland of blooms in hand!
You are saying, ‘It’s morning already. Open your eyes’

Even if I loose my soul, I won’t open my eyes. Maran made my bangles to fall off from my hands. Such a ruthless man, he came in black elephant and entered in my eyes last night. He is inside my eyes. If I open, he will run away. No dears, I won’t open my eyes.

Please bear with my poor translation. Have a good weekend. See you in another interesting post.

painting

Oru puliya marathin kathai | Sundara Ramaswamy

Oru puliya marathin kathai (Tale of a Tamarind Tree)
Author – Sundara Ramaswamy
Publisher – kalachuvadu 20th Edition.
Reserve your copy at Connemara, Chennai
Reserve your copy at NLB, Singapore

puliyamarathil kathai

All of us are playing our characters in our life. Life is mixure of ups and downs, sweet and sour. Such a short life, but  the emotions, fluctuations, vengeance we have is endless. We have our own mouna-sakshi, silent spectator. A tamarind tree located in a junction of a town is such a mouna-sakshi. This story is soft spoken societal criticism .

Damodara aasan is a older man who portrays the story of the village in the pre-independence and independence period. His story portrays a peaceful, backward village of India. Later, the younger generation takes lead and run the political and commercial entities of the same town.

puliyamarathin kathai

Such a peaceful village, how is it changed after independence – is the story background. What do we loose because of development? How the political, commercial, selfish thoughts influence the society.

Tamarind tree is a symbol of what we loose, because of development, as Writer Jeyamohan says.

They cut down all the trees, to develop a park. Children of economically backward classes, had full freedom in the trees. They used to jump and play after leaving their cattles in the empty fields. But the same children lost all their freedom, after the park is created. They are in queue to play in the children’s play area of that park. We could see the intolerance due to class diversity.

The story also shows how someone’s political wish was transformed as a communal issue. How media persons are accompanying such nasty thoughts. They story was written long back. Still it is applicable for 2017!

Damodara aasan, Abdul Khadar, Accountant of Khadar, Dhamu, Isakki, Joseph, Kadalai thatha are some of the beautiful characters, portrayed in this story. How many characters we could see!

This is a litmus test for our society.