Sunday, December 29, 2019

நீலகண்டம்- எஸ். அஷோக்

good reads தளத்தில் எஸ். அசோக் நீலகண்டம்  குறித்து எழுதியுள்ள வாசிப்பனுபவம் ஆங்கிலத்தில் வெளியாகியுள்ளது. அஷோக்குக்கு நன்றி. 

** spoiler alert ** Suneel Krishnan’s Neelakandam is a take on the problem of childlessness and rising children with autism. Senthil and Ramya from different social backgrounds end up marrying after being in love contrary to their parents wishes. Ramya especially has to face of the wrath of her mother who completely shuns any contact with her daughter post marriage.
Ramya and Senthil adopt a daughter who is affected by autism which they come to know after she grows up. The novels chapters are non linear, the chapters oscillate between mythological stories, stories from their past and the current struggles of the family.

Ramya and Senthil are at present completely alienated, a growing tension exists between them owing to the condition of her daughter Varu. They also have a biological son which complicates further their relationship to Varu. They are constantly reminding each other of their failings to Varu and the pressures of society complicates things further.

The relationship portion, their alienation comes out well, the mythological stories, the vedhalam portion creates a parallel between the stories its narrating and what the couple are going through.

In a dramatic in the penultimate chapter we see Varu is lost in a trip and it seems the parents seem to have intentionally done, at-least both of them seem to think . In a sense they are stuck in this duality where in they are not sure either to swallow the poison and destroy oneself or to spit it out. The poison is ever stuck in the throat like that of the Neelakandam.

The ending seems to indicate the novel itself is written by Varalakshmi, dedicating it to Senthil and Ramya. The novel ends in a point of vagueness as the author is unable to understand the purpose of life of someone like Varalakshmi and seems to end it with the genius way.
The novel is postmodern in its form and the multiple voices, nonlinear storytelling makes it compelling. Although it uses mythology and folklore the novel is modernist in its documenting the lives of Senthil and Ramya and even in its concerns.

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