Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sahitya Akademi yuva puraskar 2018 acceptance speech 27.10.18

I come from the land which embraced the whole world as  “yaadhum oore yaavarum keleer” several centuries before. The land that created Thiruvalluvar, Ilango, Andal, Kamban and Bharathi.

Gandhi is neither a Mahatma nor the father of a nation, for me he is a failed philosopher, a wounded warrior, a wretched grandfather whom I adore and feel close to. He is a harmless scapegoat who can be blamed for every misery. In times of disquiet I converse with him.  In our times, Don’t we have any other choice than to live with our fractured selves ? Free market was supposed to be the panacea for all the troubles of India. But after the euphoric first decade post liberalisation, the historical wounds fester. In lies, manipulation and half-truth the wound still bleeds. Truth is dead, atleast in the allegorical sense, like in an Orwellian world. Today truth is manufactured and customised. What could I do? unlike Bapu I am  puny, imperfect, indifferent and lazy.  I imagine Bapu looking at me with his reassuring toothless grin and saying ‘So were our times. So was every time in the past, Every era has its own distress and unrest to live with. Face it, seek it, embrace it.’ Then he disappeared in the mist.

And what would a ‘not so courageous’ man do? As Javier Cercas says, “Fiction saves, reality kills”. I read and write. I hide, I debate, I project and I dissipate myself.

In a world that is increasingly paranoid and polarized, Art is a powerful tool, or rather the only tool against dangerous stereotypes. Art is all that we have when propaganda dents our deepest selves and alters our sub conscious. Fiction is a way to retain our private universe. I read fiction, I live a hundred lives, I live in the fictional town of the past, Vishnupuram and confront the deluge that encompasses everything. I live in a small mansion in a crowded street and face the drought along with Jamuna, the drought that destroys compassion. I am in the courtroom where Mr. K is sentenced during  the trial anxiously. I am there in the shores of Crete, where Zorba dances and laughs merrily as if there is no tomorrow.

I create my universe, in ‘Thimingilam,’ in ‘Vasudevan’, where I face the question that torments me, the meaning and meaninglessness of our life. I lose myself in the grips of ancient myths, they surface in my stories as images. I write to keep myself sane, I write to preserve my occasional insanity. I write to know myself, I write to heal, sometimes to purge. I write because I know that I am no Bapu, and never can I be. I have to live with this naked truth, with my hypocrite self. Being a hypocrite is easy when we are unaware of it. Being a vigilant hypocrite, I have nowhere else to go but to fiction. Hypocrisy is the fuel of my creativity. Once we learn to live with it, we may even start loving the life being  in the conflict zone always and the world looks beautiful.

I sincerely thank my publisher ‘Yavarum’and their publishing team, especially Mr. Jeeva Karikalan for trusting me. My heartfelt gratitude for writer Jeyamohan, who is a father  figure to me and a mentor. Warm hugs to the friends of Vishnupuram literary circle and Padhakai ezine, for they provided a learning platform for me. Thanks would not suffice for Mr. Baskar, who played a crucial role in editing my writings.

The arrival of two important persons in my life officially kick-started my creative life: my wife Manasa, who, being a creative person herself, knows the turbulence of the creative process. She inspires me. Our son Sudhir, fosters my creativity through his presence and inquisitiveness.

I dedicate this Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar award to my mother Smt. Ramadevi, for being a pillar in our lives, standing steady and strong amidst the torments of life.

Thank you
Suneel Krishnan

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