Then, if not to write , why not try to read something in English and that is how I started reading some of the works , among those some I remember some not able to recollect.
As any fellow who wanted to read something , I started R.K Narayan , one by one and I felt so close when I was an adolescent was 'My Days' by him and his describing his wife's passing away and living with his small child and the unknown area of his communicating with his better departed soul was interesting and poignant , made something churning inside me .His cigarette smoking in Coimbatore , while waiting for his would-be wife to come and collect drinking water in a pot at the corner of the road in those days was like an opening scene of yesteryear's movie camera depicting the ambiance.I could feel the back ground score of a violin playing in those scenes and I felt as if a small boy watching the hero ogling at his heroine from another corner.My God , now I understand how lucid and simple and deep his writing is in depicting a picture of those days.I am able to perceive the feelings of loneliness [aloneness?] of a man who lost his wife and a small girl to look after .
Mr.R.K.Narayan is my Dhronaacharya in whatever I scribble today in papers or in blogs.My middle class upbringing made to buy all the small books of 4 'annas' of communist literature not to know about communism , but to read something in English and know the structure of English language.I remember one economical magazine like 'The Link" was coming in those days, I am not sure and don't remember exactly which I used to buy on and off just for the price of the magazine , not for anything else.
My elementary school was not a school to boast of any standard, it was a school run by local Municipal administration, so no chance of any books or any library. Even for playing in school , no football or any thing else to play with, we used to play our own games invented by us , among those one of the traditional games we played is 'Khabadi' and 'Pacha kudhirai'
When I reached High school, school had a little library although to my eyes looked so big with neatly arranged books.Once in fifteen days , a batch of ten boys would be taken to the school library and would be handed over either Tamil or English book and asked us to return within ten days.That small book was supposed to be read and returned and no questions would be asked as to what was the story or anything about the book Just a routine affair for the teachers.In those days , Municipal High Schools were like old post office with no movement and almost no work except boys and girls shouting from their book, and teacher occasionally would come near the black board and teach something which might reach of course half of the students owing to the volume of the teacher , since class strength would be always huge and sometimes even teachers could not identify their own students in their class room.
I remember my dad bought me a small dictionary [English to Tamil} and taught me how to see the meaning for a particular word; first word he taught me to see is 'Pigeon" and that pigeon took me in its wings beyond Lifco's Dictionary to bigger Dictionary of Lifco,Cambridge Dictionary,Oxford Concise,Roget's Thesaurus,Advanced Learners, Websters etc.,
Some of my dad's old books , I started reading, one among them Maxim Gorky's ' Mother',although I read subsequently few more times , when I read first time it was for the sake of reading, not to know or improving the knowledge.
In elementary school when we came out during interval I remember ,one vendor would be there who sold in the name of 'Bombay Mittai" a slimy and stretchable thing out of which he would make so many things like watch and a string -like thing , a small locket and a chain which he would stick around the wrist or around the neck for girls.
When in High School I felt sad after reading Jean val jean ,sad about the orphan boys and slavery.Then all non-detailed books of many hues and situations.One book I remember is Jane Eyre, who despite being an orphan settling down after marriage and happy at the end.In the impressionable mind it was joy and happiness as if someone known to you is happy.
I was not able to read many famous or big books till I reached college.I had the opportunity of reading An autobiography and other books of Nehru like Glimpses of World History,Discovery of India etc.
Of course meanwhile I already read 'My Experiments with Truth' ,I like the book mostly for simplicity,lucidness and the truth flowing in all its pages.
'Autobiography of an Unknown Indian' and 'Continent of Circe' of Nirad C chaoudhry fascinated me for the depth and ornamental play of words dancing before our eyes and mind.
I was amazed by the lucid presentation of Ramayana by Sri.Rajaji
'War and Peace' by Leo Tolstoy was given to me by a friend when in college and challenged me that I would not finish the reading , although what he had told me remained correct for sometime owing to my lab practicals,studies,and record notes preparation, ultimately I finished and handed him back the book .
He laughed asking me "what Uthaman, you have accepted the defeat'
I said 'no Prabhakaran, I finished although I want to read it so many times,
Sad indeed that friend of mine passed away owing to an operation in the valve transplantation of his heart.Good heart passed away from me.Even now after decades whenever I think of War and peace I remember him.He was so joyous a personality without inhibition of any in our student days.
Many believe for writing in English, need to study only English works; I personally feel not so, many a Tamil work by good authors would certainly help you in presenting your ideas with clarity........ in that genre comes Sri.Jayakanthan who I started reading when I was in College days and once had the occasion of listening him in our College Tamil Association on the topic 'Sila Nearangalil sila manithargal' [few people at few times] , he talked extempore on the topic more than an hour and half and he was so happy to talk to the students.His books made me learn the art of chiseling a narration .Great author he is who started a new trend in story telling both small stories and Novels.
Again sujatha, a writer in Tamil , was a trend setter in story telling with the speed of a river, sometimes robust,sometimes gentle,intense when presentation is required, with an unknown string running with humor in all his writings. Lot I have learned from his writing since his knowledge of Tamil works of ancient to modern is well known and the ground swell is from his reading in depth of classical and modern literature in Tamil.In one word, he was a genius pretending to be a normal innocent man .May be Tamil writers masking the jealousy would be poking at him in the name of essays about him.
His genre of scientific fictions are a treat to read and know the things in the scientific world.His essays and question and answers are very famous to every Tamilian worth his education is proud of.
Balakumaran , a versatile writer about family, problems of day to day, human ego, temples,man woman relationships, his delineation of female mind in lucidity ,writing with historical back ground is simply superb.From him we can learn how to move a plot to next only with the aid of conversations , crating a graphic picture in the minds of readers.His spiritualism is an entity holding a place of its own in Tamil writing.He never claimed he raises the standard of Tamil and tamilians' reading habits , although certainly done by him.Besides he is not for controversy with other Tamil writers.He does what he thinks his duty and proceeds along like a seamless river.
Swami Aurobindo's works taught me how to go about complex area of philosophy like a disciple taking a pilgrimage by going up the steps of a temple situated on top of a hill.His vision of spiritual world makes you balanced in your approach to life. His style of English......... I am a dust to comment on.
Swamy vivekanands's all volumes of Speeches and writings always making waves of spirituality in my mind both calm and equally powerful and energetic.
Although reading hundreds of Books of Osho Rajneesh makes your freedom of thinking easy in any direction,ultimately in my opinion , he is a teacher but not a guru , who is versatile ,immensely knowledgeable .
J.krishnamurti, hmmmmmmmm , walking on a rope without biased towards anything but surely you improve both spiritually , analytically and your language becomes clear first to you , then to others to whom you address.
Rajam Krishnan's 'Maavilaigal' in my non detailed book made a lasting impression.'Tharayil Irangum vimanangal' of Indhumathy made me think days and nights like her.
One period of my life was consumed by Agatha christie,Desmond Bagly,Alistair Mclean,Mario Pazo,and you name the author of 70s and 80s fame I already read.
Self development books Napoleon Hill,Vincent Peale to Shiv khera,Stephen Covey and it continues even today.
When I was in college, a high school teacher of a private school became a friend to me and once I requested him whether he could help me in reading books from his school library; which he obliged immediately and gave me the school library index book and I selected out of my eagerness ten books which he would bring by the same evening , I would finish reading all within one week as if studying for college exams; likewise I read almost one year , and as a teacher he was also happy doing that.The books I read thus is a long list of Tamil and English almost all well known authors.
Like a weaver's shuttle if I come to the other extreme of the present day , I am spell bound by the diction and design of weaving words by Justice.V.R.Krishna Iyer on various topics like Social issues,Equality,gender issues,foreign policty,Justice , poverty,political issues and he is a man of Goddess Saraswathy's blessing.At least once I want to see him and sit with him for five minutes to get his blessings by falling oblong at his feet.
Nani Palkhivala , who was a great lawyer of Supreme Court , a constitutional expert,orator,writer,Ambassador to U.S, was a member and writer in a forum known as 'Forum of Free Enterprise, in which he used to write often on constitutional matters,budget,economy , social issues etc.and his presentation and English impressed me to greater extent.After every budget presentation, he would conduct a meeting talking on the budget which was a famous festival conducted only in foot ball stadiums to control the crowd.And he described Chennai as intellectual capital of India.He wrote many books out of which the book I liked is 'We,the Nation'.
Bhavan's Jounal is one which reaches you to many good authors of various hues and the simplicity and lucidity is a disease you will willingly get infected by this journal.K.M.Munshi was the one who brought me into many religious stories through Bhavan's Journal.
Edmund Burke speeches on American Taxation and conciliation shows you pattern of weaving the words of various hues,sticking to the subject , into a fabric of finest English oration, which if a part can be emulated, he is already an orator of English in public forum.
[to be continued]