Software engineer-turned-children’s writer Vizhiyan’s Makadigaram is a little boy’s adventurous journey into unknown lands

If the Makadigaram (the gigantic clock) stops ticking, the world will come to an end. This is a secret that has been guarded by a group of men for generations. Lead by the bearded old Hercules, it is their responsibility to make sure it runs smoothly. Once every five years, a chosen one will travel to the Mauna Loa Island to wind up the clock that sits high up on a mountain. Little Dheeman has just been chosen for the job. Will he carry it out successfully? Or will the world end if the clock stops ticking? Children’s author Vizhiyan’s Makadigaram tells you the rest of the story.

Released as part of Bharathi Puthakalayam’s Books For Children series, the book runs for about 50 pages and has illustrations by Praveen Tulasi. Vizhiyan has written it for children aged between eight and 14 years. “I wrote it in two hours after a friend and I had a conversation about science fiction,” says the 33-year-old.

Vizhiyan has been writing since 2009 — he has written ten books so far, mostly for children. Writing, for the city-based software professional, is a stress-reliever. “I started writing to tell stories to my daughter,” he says. As a new-age writer who has taken up the task of contributing to children’s literature in Tamil, Vizhiyan draws inspiration from writers Vaandu Mama, Era Natarajan, and Yuma Vasuki and Tinkle’s characters such as Suppandi.

Vizhiyan’s style is simple — his first book was a work of science fiction called Kaala Payanigal, followed by a social drama. Children’s books can be divided into those for the four to eight age-group and the eight to 14 age-group, says Vizhiyan. Little ones will enjoy fantasy stories with a light dose of reality and the basics of life that parents can read out for them. Kids aged over eight can be introduced to science, history, and culture, among others, through stories, he feels. “A writer should know which age-group he is addressing,” he says. “Otherwise, the kid will not pursue reading. Parents should understand this and introduce books to them accordingly.”

Vizhiyan, whose real name is Umanath Selvan, has also written a book on parenting and one on 40 important scientists for children. His hilarious Pencilgalin Attagasam has been translated to English as Pencil’s Day Out (available at stall no:115). He is currently working on a fantasy story called Thiru Thiru Airlines!

Picks from the Chennai Book Fair: Vizhiyan’s Makadigaram; Price: Rs. 30; Available at stall no: 446, 447. The Book Fair is on till January 22 at YMCA College of Physical Education, Nandanam.