Chandramathy, Professor of English and bilingual writer of rare wit and verve, I admire deeply. Somewhere long ago, I read about her trying to get an appointment with Harold Pinter, at his residence. Apparently ‘ Moonlight’ was being dramatised in town, and she had tried to explain that her name was synonymous with Pinter’s Classic! I quite forget the denouement.
In Mathrubhumi’s July 11 issue, is her satirical short story, ” Ningal Nireekshanathillanu” aka ” You are under observation”! The irony dripping from her pen is scathing, exposing the warts of the hypocritical society- the rot, literally thrown up. I enjoyed the story and ruminated over how her style of writing has changed over the years.
In the collection of her stories, ” Chandramathyude Kathakal”, published by DC Books for the first time in 2009, the writer blooms under the loving gaze of her reader.
From stories of Devigramam, women searching for understanding, her stories of 80s have changed shape and hue as she traverses modern times. ” Bonsai”, for example is a pithy little shocker! ( 1993).
But my gaze remained on ” Kavithayude Katha” ( Story of a poem) as she beautifully portrays the dual world of men and women and their aspirations. As Sushma, the ubiquitous housewife writes a poem, daring to dream and reach out to a vital flame in her heart, the parallel world of the man is revealed. The poem gets destroyed in the end, and as she steps to greet her normal life, I thought that this story is timeless- across countries, across ages, across genres. It is written with remarkable ” kaiyothukkam” as we call it in my mother tongue- with exemplary word control and brevity.
I could relate it to the YouTube hit ” Moonamidam”, relate it to the present age of easy access to forbidden frontiers. ” What”, I found myself wondering, ” if Sushma were to be living today- with means to reach out? Would she still put the phone down, after listening to a voice at the other end and shut down memories of a rain filled day? ”
Now that, would make another beautiful short film.
Chandramathy , Professor and writer, is also a survivor. She battled cancer and won the fight. A perceptive story, about that time, when apparent well wishers flooded her with their false sympathies stand starkly apart in that compilation. “Negative Energy”, is full of deeply pained laughter. The reader cannot laugh, for she is choked up by the reality of it all. It happens everyday, in everyone’s life.
The simplicity of this moonlight splendour, I adore. I wish it will grace our lives, for a long, long time with its divine aura.