My first Story
It was on 1981 August; I wrote my first short story in regional language Malayalam. Malayalam is a Dravidian language spoken in the state of Kerala, Puducherry and Lakshadweep. “Malay” means “mountain” and “alam” means “region”. Kerala is southern west state of India and it has reference in bible.
Even though my mother tongue is Malayalam, I was very poor in scoring marks in Malayalam in my lower classes. Even my pronunciations of Malayalam words was a matter of laugh and kidding for others.
However, at 13, I wrote a complete short story in Malayalam in just half an hour. The title of the story is “Veendum oru pakalinu Vendi” meaning “Again, for another day”.
The central characters in this story were my grandfather Late K P Alikunju, my father K M Anthru, and of course me. My grandfather, (father of my mother) was an advocate and a promising politician, orator, writer and social worker. He helped to bring up Kerala Hindi Prachara Sabha and many educational institutions. Despite all these, I found in him a failed family man.
He lived in Ernakulam alone and my grandmother- his wife lived in a rural area of Trivandrum. My grandmother was reluctant to leave her father and her younger daughter, who is also a deceptive character. She had two children, and she lived in Trivandrum like her mother, leaving her husband at Ernakulam.
Affection and leniency of my grandfather to his younger daughter’s family is clear and used to visit my cousins occasionally and presented them voluminously. We lived in Trivandrum city. My grandfather frequently comes to Trivandrum and stay in C P Sathram—an old government guest house. Even though he has time, he would not come to see us. He always kept away from us.
I still remember an incident which is too much painful and hurting. One day he made an unexpected visit. My mother was happy and was preparing a lunch for his liking. Before enquiring about us, he enquired my mother about her sister and her sons.
My mother asked:
“Why? You did not go there?”
“I went there. I found the house locked. I thought I will come here and enquire.”
I understood his reason for his sudden visit to our home. Had they been there, my grandfather would never had come that day. He came to Trivandrum and travelled one hour to visit his favorite daughter and grandsons. Unfortunately, he could not see. So he travelled another one hour back. Out of his anxiety towards them, he traveled ten minutes to visit us.
After his chat with my mother, he called me and my sister near, opened his briefcase and took two packets of “Halwa” (a sweet) bought from Ernakulam and presented to us as if he bought them for us from Ernakulam.
I asked him.
“Had my both the cousins present in their house, you would have given these to them. That means when you bought these sweets, you forgot that your elder daughter is also having children. Is not?”
He blushed. My mother scolded me and took the pack. I understand that sweetness of any present vanishes if they do not embed it with love. To love a person is the most hard part in life. Later in my life, I had seen opportunistic treats and presents.
Later, (I do not remember whether it happened on the same day) I asked my grandfather.
“Why are not visiting us? It is only less than half hour travel from your usual guest house. Why are you very much particular in visiting my cousins even though they are far?”
His answer was astonishing to me.
“You are not following religious rituals”
“No one asked me during my birth in which religion you want to be. Accidentally I bear a religion. My religion is humanity.”
He suddenly changed the discussion. I saw a discrimination- a deserting—from my (own) grandfather. I understood religion is a weapon to defend one’s failure. I vowed myself not to use or consider religion in my future life.
One day my father came and told that my grandfather was in Trivandrum for the last few days for a function. My father being a station master flagged off the train to Ernakulam in which he was returning.
I felt terribly sad. And I wrote a story with K P Alikunju as a central character.
I showed this to my father. He asked me to send to the leading magazine in Kerala. I obeyed. But to my disappointment, they returned the story rejected.
My father told:
“See, don’t think or believe all your stories pass through editors. And do not stop writing. Write, send and wait. Some stories not published now may get published later, If you write with passion and soul”
This gave me the courage to write. I never write according to a timetable. I write only when I feel to write. I am not particular in writing a specific genre. The moment of writing makes me decide what style to use.
All my writings are from my heart and they reflect some heartfelt stories seen around. For me all writings, even an official letter or a technical article is like a creative work. The input signal for my writing is the pain and anguish “YOU” give. It starts some oscillations inside me. If I allow this oscillation to grow over damped, the society will certainly get affected adversely. So I try to plunge into other thoughts and reflections I gathered. I write about them. Oscillations now starts settling to zero.