Monday, September 29, 2008

Book Review- The Harmony Silk Factory- Tash Aw

"Unputdownable" says Dorris Lessing about Tash Aw's debut novel- The Harmony Silk Factory is right. Tash Aw narrates the wonders of exotic east wrapped in the life of Johnny Lim- a vagabond turned hero and his mysterious wife, Snow. The story is set in the backgroud of WW 2 .Like Rashmon, the fall and rise of Johnny Lim, unfolds through the eyes of three individuals, Johnny's son , Snow and Peter Wormwood. Half of the story is told by Johnny's son, portraying the Heathcliffian character and early years of tactful Johnny, his short stinch as a miner and his entry to the valley and Snow's home. The scond part of the Story is being narrated through the diaries of Snow. The mysterios diary notes reveal their honymoon trip to Seven Maidens - island and the ghostly happenings there. Peter unveals last part of the story. The innocent and much diturbed life of Johnny.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


A name is a tag. A tail which follows you everywhere. Apparently I am branded with a bad name. "Jacob" that is my tag. My christian parents took this name from Bible. In Bible, Jacob is a treacherous brother, who cheated his brother and take advantages of younger-son blessings from his father. Certain times I express that biblical Jacob's treacherous trait. Oftentimes my mother used to analyse my character with biblical Jacob. But god's grace this biblical Jacob was once blessed with the angels of Jehovah. I too.
But in my Indian-Kerala existance my name embit the image of a cyrian-christain Achayan.
In Kerala the common names are Ajayan-One who can't defeat, Sathyapalan-One who always vigil truth, Arun- other name for sun, Sundaran- The beautiful...and many other names Sreekumar, Anil, Sunil, manoj...etc. All these names had a vibrant youth feel. I miss this. Jacob- the very name throw me into the pit of a bad brand name- Achayan

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Muniswami- The man who peddles other men

Madurai roads is always bustling...brand new bmws to age-old cycle rickshaws honking 24 hrs in this Temple City. Coiling Circle is the shape of the city here. On our short tour we climbed Muniswami's Cycle rikshaw. Looks like a black seer the drunken Muniswami take us to the honking city. Musiswami had two wives and 12 children.Last 20 years Muniswami Peddling through the temple roads of Madurai. Yelled with the motor vehicles passed through the roadside Muniswami makes the way to his cycle and his life-cycle.

Trailing throgh the Temple City- Madurai

Trailing through the Temple City- Madurai is an enthralling experience. Myraid colors of dieties, cow-dug smelling streets, labyrinth of narrow alleies, silk-cloth shops, people carry man peddling cycles, scorching Indian sun and finally the poor south-Indian mass. Madurai-meenakshi temple is a classic example of great, intricate, much laboured Indain Architecture. The 4 tower temple is built by various king at different times. Following the Durga cult in the Indian sub-continent is an interesting thing to bhakthi travellers .

Madurai had great folkloric history, once Kannagi burned this ancient city. The story of Kannagi plays an important role in history of Madurai.
Story of Kannagi - from a website sorce
There lived a merchant by name "Maasaathuvaan" in Kaveripoompattinam. He had a son called "Kovalan". He was married to "Kannagi" who was the beautiful daughter of a merchant by name "Maanaikkan".
Later Kovalan fell in love with a dancer called "Madhavi". He became a spendthrift and soon he lost all his property. On the occasion of "Indira " festival in Kaveripoomopattinam, he had a dispute with Madhavi and he went back to Kannagi. Inorder to regain his property, he went to Madurai along with his wife kannagi to start a business. They were accompanied by "Kavunthiadigal".But she continued her journey after leaving the Kovalan and Kannagi in "Puranjery" where they were accompanied by "Madhari" who was a cowherdess. She helped the couple in all ways.Kannagi gave her Jewelled anklet ("Silambu") to Kovalan and asked him to sell it so that he can start his new business. Kovalan went to market to sell one of Kannagi's anklets. In the meantime, the queen of Pandiyan King Nedunchezhiyan,lost her anklets ("Silambu"). Actually, the court Jeweller had robbed the queen's anklets. Once the wicked jeweller happened to see Kovalan with Kannagi's anklets in the market. He seized the anklet from Kovalan and informed the king about it. The king sent gaurds to arrest Kovalan. Kovalan was accused of having stolen the queen's anklets and was killed as per the king's order. When Kannagi came to know about the news, she went out into the town,with her eyes ablaze with anger, carrying the remaining anklet in her hand as proof of her husband's innocence. She made the king realise the truth by breaking her anklet which was made of Manickam. When Pandiyan king came to know that he had punished an innocent ,he died in his throne by saying "Oh! I am the thief and he is not the thief". The queen also died at that spot.Kannagi burnt Madurai into ashes in consequence to the injustice caused to her husband Kovalan.

It is an important centere of commerce since 550 AD. The Pandyan King Kulasekarar built a great temple and created a lotus shaped city around the temple. On the day the city was to be named, as Lord shiva blessed the land and its people, divine nectar (Madhu) was showered on the city from his matted locks. This city was henceforth known as Madhurapuri.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


I normally like Festivals. But the euphoria of Onam is disgusting. Images of Onam is reflection of Keralites nostalgic mind. Ksavu Glittering Onamudu remebers me the elite Kerala man and woman. And I hate the typical vegetarian Sadya ( feast) . But I like Payasams and yellow-colored banana chips. But in my childhood I partaked in onam festivities like collecting flowers from the nearby houses and cleaning the moss seaten walls to invite Maveli ( The First Communist-Socialist King in Kerala) . In my literature spirited youth I celebrated Onam Days with reading Literature filled special magazines.

Friday, September 5, 2008


In old age man dwelled in caves. He kept his hunting tools and stocks in the cave. Everybody knows the cave-age of man. Ages flashed. Man had new environs to live and work. But his old instinct of savegery still pretains. Sorry ,I hope you know all about it. Recently I am shifted to a cave-flat. In the basement I rarely met our co-cave dwellers, like two tribes dwelling in the savage forests of Amazon we parted and never tried to smile at each other.