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Peppy tale

RJ, singer, actress, writer and perhaps, a future food critic... meet Suchitra Ramadurai

TO FM radio listeners, Suchitra Ramadurai is the Radio Mirchi RJ who has an impeccable timing for comedy. To Tamil film buffs, she is the sweet little girl who has played a cameo in "Jay Jay". To music lovers, she is the one who sang "May Masam 98'il" in "Jay Jay". To readers of fiction, she is one of the winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Competition 2003-04.

When you are so versatile, it is difficult to be self-consistent. There could be aspects in your personality, which are in conflict with one another. It should redound to Suchitra's credit that she has managed to be amazingly self-consistent. A kind of light-heartedness permeates through all her activities.

If she comes across as an RJ who has her tongue "wedged" in the cheek, even her writing is laced with the same humour. Her prize-winning short story, set in Kerala, is about a spice. Called "The Runaway Peppercorn", the story is a graphic illustration of an episode in the life of a black peppercorn called Kuru-Milaku. The reader is able to feel the excitement arising from the adventures of this "intrepid" peppercorn that "simply decides to roll away". The peppercorn on the run from Ammini-Kutty Amma, who wants it to be part of her spicy onion dish, finally makes itself inconspicuous by jumping into a bag full of peppercorns. The story ends with the peppercorn "at peace with a million other peppercorns".

In the tailpiece, there is a little moral that is far from preachy. "So, tell your Amma, when she sets to make chutney and when one peppercorn simply decides to roll away, `Just let it go. It has a life. It wants to live it. The poor little soul'."

By its structure and theme, "The Runaway Peppercorn" comes across as a children's story. It is no accident that it is so. Suchitra meant it to be a story for children. In point of fact, she wants to commit herself to children's fiction. She wants to write stories and novels that provoke laughter in them.But she has something in store for grown-ups too. She says she will one day be a food critic, writing books for foodies.


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