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Word power

ADGP Tilakavathi is also a literary genius

HER PEN is mightier than her pistol. Sounds strange? Here is a tough cop who can wield both with singular skill. Tilakavathi. G was here in the twin cities for the recently concluded All-India Women Writers Conference. Few outside Tamil Nadu know her as Additional Director General of Police (Coastal security group). A rap session on the sidelines of the conference revealed a fascinating personality of this IPS officer of the 1976 batch.

A prolific poetess/writer/novelist in her native language, Tamil , Tilakavathi's literary awards lists reads like her service medals. When and how did writing interest her? "From my school days I penned poems for special occasions. I had no literary background.. My tryst with prose was as late as the Eighties when Dinakaran published my short story based on the female infanticide issue that was rocking a part of Tamil Nadu then. It won accolades and an eye-opener for me. That the reach of short stories is far wider than any poetry," she briefs.

From then there was no looking back for this progressive writer. From short stories to novellas and novels was a natural corollary. "I wrote poems from an inner longing to express myself. Now, whenever I happen to come across social injustice, animal or human suffering I am provoked to write with a purpose: to share my views so that I could contribute to make the world a better place to live.

Prolific writer

So far she had eight collections of short stories (150 each), 20 novellas and nine novels to her credit, some of the latter have been adapted and serialised for television while one went to be made into a movie - Pattini Penn that bagged at least four state awards. Popular among her television scripts for soaps was Muppathu kodi mukhangal (borrowed from Bharatiyar's famous line on Mother India). A lot more of translations from English to Tamil and vice-versa for Sahitya Academy. All this in the face of severe opposition from her near and dear especially during her formative stage.

"No body in the family could relish this interest of mine and I was always rebuked. So it became a sort of secret vocation with me for a long time. After getting into the police service, my folks thought that I was not living up to my status and vibed with a sort of bohemian crowd. At every step all that I encountered was censure but it could not thwart my heart's calling.''

Then why the choice of such a service that doesn't allow enough time to pursue what she yearns for. "I realised very early in life that if I made writing my profession, I have to make a lot of compromises at some point of time. My nature was not ready for that. In a fit of frenzy to be financially independent, I took every exam that came my way and finally IPS fell into my lap.''

For a sensitive writer, a career of this dimension was definitely not a cakewalk. "My career graph has some ups and more downs. I took all my transfers in my stride since I cannot make too many compromises. I am happy that I never had to bear with political interference. I work with zeal whatever be the post I hold.'' Tilakvathi held some crucial posts too like the Crime Investigation Department . A police officer to the core, she makes no bones about being strong willed enough to control and administrate a disciplined force.

Definitely another facet to the soft-hearted woman of substance!


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