It's been years since I started writing. But even now, when I sit down to write, I feel like a schoolboy sitting in the examination hall before an empty page. In my younger days, writing was a hobby. Now, it's a struggle; a prayer to bring about words in the most satisfactory order; an exorcism of memories.(Free Translation) MT VASUDEVAN NAIR
In a previous blogpost,I'd written about a revival of my interest in Malayalam literature. This experience was like walking through old familiar paths once again. The best book I read as a result of this renaissance (if I can use it in a very personal sense) was a memoir Ammaykku written by great Malayalam writer M T Vasudevan Nair. In a simple, direct and intimate tone that takes the reader into confidence, he describes his transformation from a voracious reader into a literary phenomenon.
Most writers have evolved out of a life of strife and struggle. Like the pearl out of the oyster, literature is mostly about transformation of rather painful experiences and memories. Here, MT also describes a similar metamorphosis from a schoolboy into a writer overcoming several obstacles and limitations.
The book's title translated as 'To Mother' is meaningful in that it is his memories about his mother and the people who have influenced him considerably in his life. He lovingly recalls several people who influenced him and encouraged him in his literary pursuits. He recounts his intimate bond with the great literary genius, Vaikkom Mohammed Basheer and his brief encounter with madness.
Gentle, honest and memorable, this memoir from a literary genius is a worthy gem in any literature reader's collection. Read a story Oppol by MT!