Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018 memoirs and a road map to 2019

The year that just slipped away has imprinted strong memories on me. 2018 was special to me as a writer. It was december 30 2017, the maiden short story collection was launched. From then on it had been a roller coaster year of intense reading, writing and travelling.

I made my first foreign trip in october to Sri Lanka. That too, not as a writer but representing Ayurveda. A sudden trip materialised out of nowhere. Thanks to Dr. Sivaraman. Had a great time with senior siddha physicians like Dr. Jeya venkatesh, Dr. Senthil, Dr. Manikandan, Dr. Vetri vendhan and Dr. Alex. I had to present a paper in english and participate in a debate. Presenting in english was a tough job. I understood I have completely lost touch with it. It was good to have company of Dr Jeyakar by side. The sad thing is I did not get to visit any place in lanka. I stayed indoors in triconamalee as well as in colombo during the entire 3 days. Conference and travel occupied the time. 

The other trips were family trips. One was earlier during the month of march we visited Goa. We stayed in our relative's house at Nachnola. Easwari Akka and Satya Bhava hosted us for 5 days. It is a memorable trip. The churches and huge ancient structures in old goa to the picturesque beaches in north goa, and the wonderful food we tasted. The experience of getting trapped in a hartal in an unknown land was something good for a writer. A good travel must spiritually enrich you and after the end of travel you must feel re energised, not tired. Goa trip did that to me. Me, Manasa, mother and Sudhir went there. 

The last flight trip of 2018 was to Imphal, Manipur for the Yuva Puraskar ceremony. The entire family went and spent 5 days in kolkatta and Imphal. I had already wrote about the Imphal experience. Thanks to Jeyanti akka and family for the Kolkatta arangements. Thanks to Sahitya Akademi for the arrangements at Imphal. The Loktak ride will be something special, etched in the memory forever. 

On the medical career, I was on and off. Travelling cost some focus. The Pudhukottai project is hanging on the fringe as i dont want to lose it. But there was some kind of growth in the last part I could sense. Probably writer image has helped to acquire some respect. Hope I shall go for an expansion  in 2019 or 2020. 

This year was also an year of stages for me. Made a dozen of stage appearances atleast. Participated in the final day of kovai book fair as one of the panelist along with Devibharati. Karaikudi kamban kazhagam felicitated me for Yuva Puraskar. Another felicitation was carried by my publisher Jeeva Karikalan on chennai. Spoke at a college in pudhukottai along with kirungai sethupathi. Spoke at a college near kallal. I was felicitated by karaikudi book fair committee. The final and most important felicitation happened at the Vishnupuram meet. Participated in one aindhinai literary meet and spoke, hosted another aindhinai meet at my place. There was this Yuva puraskar to add. I also spoke on Raj Gowthaman. I spoke on Navin's interview compilation at madurai. Presented an essay on problems of criticism at ooty vishnupuram meet. Also suppemented a talk on current novels at chennai kumaragrubaran meet. Interacted with vasagasalai at chennai anna library. Was the guest in inaugural vasagasalai meet here at karaikudi. Went to two schools and gave talks on Gandhi at tirupur. Gave a talk on Gandhi on october 2 at acchirupakam TNSF. Was a guest speaker on yavarum book release on oct 2nd. Gave an acceptance speech on dec 30 during my book release. Chaired a debate on Ayurveda along with 2 other eminent personalities on the eve of National Ayurveda Day in my alma matar. These are some talks i remember. I have evolved from a timid thinking speaker in to a confident stage speaker, I sense it. My friends acknowledge it. Participated actively in the TNSF meetings on Karaikudi book fair. But i do want to contain the number of talks and meets. These talks occupy time. Travelling is involved. I want to be as original as possible in each talks irrespective of whether it is recorded or not. Hopefully I will reduce the travelling next year. The big problem is I am not able to master the art of saying NO. 

On writing, in terms of fiction I would say it is a very lean count. 'Lithium' and 'Sidhal' were published. Sidhal was written last year. Wrote another story which is unpublished. Some 4 or 5 flash fictions were written. Novel is stagnant:( This is an immediate issue i have to look at. Hopefully i shall write more and more fiction in the 2019. I wrote an essay on vedas and ayurveda in tamizhini, and another on aldus huxley which were well received. Wrote essays in kanaiyazhi on Javier cercas 'impostor' Wu ming yi s 'Stolen bicycle'. Wrote piece on Gandhi in thadam. There were intervies in tamil hindu, thendral, ilakkiya vel magazines, noolvanam web channel. The major work was bringing out Sureshkumar Indrajith padhakai special. Wrote about 'Making of mahathma' in ayal cinema. The pudhiya kuralgal criticisms and interviews continued for another 5 to 6 issues which i need to resume. Translated a story for kalkudhirai. It was a decent year on reading and writing i would say. 

Novel is stagnant, Ayurveda book is stagnant, Hope this year i shall complete them both. I am thinking of working out a plan to read books. 1 contemporary tamil fiction, 1 classic tamil fiction, 1 Indian/ world classic, 1 non fiction, 1 poetry per month. Atleast minimum 5 books permonth maks it to 60 in a year. Hope this works out. I am relatively unfamiliar with world cinema, paintings. Hope this year i  bridge the difference. 

My modern literary reading interests kick started in the late twenties. When i see my youn early and mid twenties counterparts i feel i have been late. Yes i need to make up for it by intense reading. There are some minor health issues which i need to resolve this year. And the additional responsibility is awaiting. 

Time to say some thanks. Manasa, for being my strength and allowing to pursue my interest. I know i had spent less time with you in 2018 than the previous ones. Hopefully we shall find or time together this year and coming years. Sudhir for inspiring creatively. Amma for the moral strength she bestows. My in-laws for believing me that i am in to something useful. The vishnupuram friends, i can say that i have acquired some great friends who are genuinely happy at your growth. Yvarum team, Jeeva karikalan, Kannadasan Ganesh and Kavidhaikaran Ilango for trusting and supporting the writing endeavour. Imprtantly bringing out the book beautifully. Jeyamohan, for nurturing me to what I am. Natbas for being a mentor. Padhakai, marapachi, friends who have shaped my thoughts. My school mates Deepak, Venkat, Subbhu, GGR, Siva and Sastha for being there for me. Thank you all. 

I wish you all a happy, productive, creative and purposeful new year ahead.  

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