The third Saaral Award instituted by the Robert Arokyam Trust was presented to veteran writer Asokamitran alias J. Thyagarajan at a function here on Sunday. The award included a citation, memento and a cheque for Rs.50,000.
If some speakers at the function dwelt on their long association with the writer and recalled with gratitude his encouragement, others spoke of his ready wit and quick repartees.
Presenting the award, artist R.B. Baskaran, recalled his 50-year association with the writer and said by publishing their works in lesser known magazines Asokamitran provided them the encouragement to seek out popular publications and have their work published.
“Asokamitran, who was fluent in English, continued to write in Tamil, adopted a simple language and left on our lips a lingering half smile,” said JD, one of the trustees.
Writer Prapanchan said Asokamitran had the unique talent of presenting essays and stories in a similar style. Recalling several anecdotes from the author's life, Mr. Prapanchan said the author's sense of humour elicited laughter but did not hurt anyone.
Filmmaker Lingusami, who released a book based on JD-Jerry's documentary on the art of Kalamkari, lauded the effort of the organisation in providing a platform for persons from various fields of fine arts.
Mr. Asokamitran, who thanked the organisation for honouring him, said despite having written so much he regretted that he had not dwelt on his association with his parents. A father had an important role to play in a child's life as he guided the child. As his parents had died young, he had not benefitted from that guidance, he regretted. “Looking back, I wrote very little about my mother than about my father. I cannot explain it away. But there's no need to dissolve into self-pity, for there are people around us who are more deprived,” he said.
Proving admirers of his sense of humour right, the author concluded saying: “I will be turning 80 in a few months. It is inevitable that I would know a lot of people. Were I to live 40 more years, I would know even more people and receive more awards.”