Twisted Tales; Unvarnished Truths…

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The short stories written by Daphne Du Maurier when she was in her twenties – apparently rejected by the editors then – are now available for the reader.

‘Stunning’, is too feeble a word for her percipient writing! One can see the origins of  her eponymous heroine ‘Rebecca’  in a story ‘ The Doll.’ Now, that is a  truly breath taking story: apt material for any literature student who wants to research on gender, power play, and openly subversive writing.

Also, it is worth to explore the similarities of character in the two Rebeccas. The play of emotions, the hatred, the loathing, the desire, the love, the mystery and the jealousy. The heroine asks whether one can love someone to such an extent that it becomes pleasurable to hurt that person! The hero wonders whether he could strangle her to her death. The ending is….unspeakable! Ah,  definitely the twisted tale of Manderlay,  first stirred to life in that story…I  could only hum ‘ Yeh nayan dare dare…’

It was not that song which I hummed when I read  the story, ‘And his letters grew colder.’ How perfectly  the young Daphne Du Maurier analysed the mind of the player! The hunting, the chasing and the cold hearted abandonment. The callousness of the casual trickster has been dissected with needle sharp cynicism and ruthlessness by a master writer!

Any day, any century, any era, a woman can benefit by reading that story! Poor Mrs.B, or A : how you fell for the hunter at large! It is a tale which will hold true in the age of tinder and instant messaging; and probably save a few lives from unwarranted suicides too.  Apparently,  from reading reviews of that story , a lot of women across the world agree on that particular chronology of Daphne’s surreptitiously sly narrative.

The perfect song to hum is Kelly Clarkson’s of course.. ‘Baby you don’t know me..what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…’

 

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http://lereis.blogspot.in/2007/05/and-his-letters-grew-colder.html

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/apr/30/the-doll-daphne-du-maurier

P.S. For all who love Conan Doyle. He could write some real creepy stuff too! Check out ‘ The case of Lady Sannox.’  Now that is another story which can fit in this particular genre. Du Maurier would have applauded.

http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/19/tales-of-terror-and-mystery/75/the-case-of-lady-sannox/

 

 

Netronmeelanam by K .R. Meera : A Note

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“Netronmeelanam,” is a tough title for even those who understand Malayalam well. Poetic, having imageries of both eyes and a sort of merging,  the word with probable Sanskritic etymology, means the art of drawing eyes, in an environment of soulfulness, onto  murals, paintings or sculptures. Every artist worth her pencil would know that it is  a sacred act – the eyes will be the one to be drawn at  the very last. If they see well, you have caught the spirit truly.

Verily it is said in the Holy Bible: ” The eye is the lamp of the body. So then, if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If the light that is in you is darkness, how great the darkness..”

K.R. Meera’s novel, ” Netronmeelanam”, is like a black and white movie. It plays with blindness and sight, perspective and lack of it, losing eye sight literally, metaphorically, regaining an outlook, changing a way of looking. The novel , if you draw an analogy to a human being, looks deep inside, outside, sideways, closes its eyes and opens them wide.

The writer plays with light in almost all sentences, including the names of her characters:Deepti, Jyoti, Rajani, Prakashan, Shyaman, Abha, Suraj,  Suprabha, Chandramohan, Shivsubramaniya Rao ( I imagined the third eye  of Shiva and the birth of Kartikeya)- there is a smattering of light and dark every where.

The love story is  as complex as an Orhan Pamuk story of obsession; for what is lost forever. This museum of innocence is filled with images of a pregnant Deepti who vanishes inexplicably one night. Everywhere you turn, you encounter her light; ironically not unlike  that of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca- that sinister presence all across Manderlay. Rejany, dark with long plait that resembles a snake, is the living , breathing, passionate woman who falls in love with the blind hero. Unfortunately, he does not have the inner eye to see her light. Some people, Prakashan epitomising that characteristic, are always doomed to thirst for what is lost and will not value those who are present in flesh and blood. The father’s story, the brilliant wordplay notwithstanding, seemed slightly contrived to me. Still, Meera’s love affair with Bengal shows the spark from within this work too.

There were too many jumps onto poetic imagination. Shyaman finding love serendipitously, the story of Jyoti’s Netronmeelanam, the mad woman in the redemption saga, hmmm, I was left a little dissatisfied. Two stories flashed in my mind, in between: somewhere in the past I had read Mukundan’s tale about a corporate top shot,abnegating it all, and choosing to toil as a farmer in some hinterlands. Jyoti’s life and its exaggerated loving simplicity, reminded me of that one. And disturbingly came the memory of that classic  vernacular short story, ( I forget the title )of a father and son returning to the paternal home after the mother committed suicide. What was the name? It tantalises me with its unreachability. Maybe it was Chandramohan’s story that triggered that particular brooding.

Meera’s incomparable  gift  for wordplay and imageries shocks and delights equally:

” The woman tasted of rust.”pg.20

” Beyond the skyscrapers, an ugly cloud afraid of the night, got ready to commit suicide on the branch of the sunset.” Pg 28

“Along the pathway by the side of the canal, to deceive the sightless, the jasmine flower clad night, lay down, her hair loose.” Pg 34

” They found each other like bats, using sound..” Pg 41

” He could see the image of the tree, covered in a black gown, hanging on the sky..”pg 65

I admire the deeply intelligent writing as much as her scintillating prose.

Yes, more of her works are coming my way this week, hopefully.

Let me sketch a face now. I have  to try that sacred ritual- Netronmeelanam…

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