Those who read Tamil magazines regularly would not have missed the stories of Thiruvaroor Babu. The success of his writing probably lies in its brevity and simplicity. He writes a short story centred on incidents happening around us every day. The collection is quite voluminous since it carries 100 short stories running to 600-odd pages.
The stories are based on relationships, beliefs and behaviour, success and failure, happiness and sorrow, the characters realistic. This makes the reader identify himself/herself with them. Since the author has been closely associated with the film world he depicts the trials and tribulations of those associated with the tinsel town in some stories. His stint as a correspondent and assistant editor for a Tamil magazine has provided him with insight which is reflected in some.
It is, indeed, difficult and also uncharitable to classify one hundred stories into excellent, memorable and forgettable categories. Invariably, all the stories carry some special shade or significance. Hailing from Thiruvarur, Babu chronicled his native and its surroundings with great love and affection in his writings. However, more than anything else, human relationships play the key role in many. Understandably, they vary from good to bad and indifferent.
A short story is generally a narration which should end with a twist. There is another genre of writing where the story will have an open ending, leaving it to the reader’s imagination. When these two are absent, the narration falls flat. Some of the stories fall into this categories,
The author attempts to highlight the human touch in almost all the stories. To cite a few examples: ‘Thai Mann’ and ‘Koottu Pongal’ present the value of agriculture and integrity. Many like ‘Meippadum’, ‘Oru Thayarippalarin Pongal’, and ‘Clap Board’ interestingly bring out the flip side of the tinsel town . Stories such as ‘Naan Nirubar’ and ‘Naangavadhu Thoon’ speak on the strengths of journalism. ‘Gandhi Vazhi’ (wrongly mentioned as ‘Gandhi Desam’ on the cover) which is said to have been translated in three other languages is thought-provoking. A true writer has to be sharp-eyed, expressive and committed. Thirvaroor Babu testifies these qualities through his stories.
Thiruvaroor Babu Sirukadhaigal
Muthuvizha Illam, 13(5) Sripuram 2 Street, Royapettah, Chennai 600 014,
Rs. 300, pp.624