Books

When memories speak

Vaakkukal Kelkkan Oru Kaalam Varum  

Names call to mind people, bring in associations and waft in memories. Madhupal is to Malayalis a familiar serene face, an actor who has donned the garb of a film director, a writer of stories and travelogues. However, his memoir Vaakkukal Kelkkaan Oru Kaalam Varum presents facets of Madhupal’s personality, unknown and unfamiliar to the film-going, book-reading public of Kerala.

The book is divided into four sections: sights, love, journeys and death. Each of these title words are given new nuances, new shades of meaning. ‘Sights’ remind us that sights need not always be that which we see with our eyes. It can be perceptions of a sharp intellect, a sensitive mind, or an insightful soul that sees into the very essence of being - ‘Houses should not be left locked or deserted for long. If there’s no human presence, houses will get stifled and will wither off. The breath of a house is the life force of its resident.’ Madhupal’s prescription for a healthy society is also fascinating – ‘…the best and perhaps the most effective cure for all maladies affecting the society is an openness to life, which accepts that this world is created not just for human beings. Each and every atom of life has the right of freedom and existence here; the harmonious coexistence of all creation is what can keep this universe going fine.’

The second section ‘love’ speaks of two types of love, one ordinary, the other ethereal. Ethereal love presents to the mind the coolness and radiance of moonlight. There’s hardly anything physical about it. At times, it arrives as a soft voice floating through the phone from a far away land. It’s a blend of friendship, love and romance. Madhupal finds a rare beauty in women who write. He marvels at their minds that delve into the far recesses of the human mind and come up with crystallisations unique.

‘Journeys’ to Madhupal teaches history, culture. Every journey teaches something. He remembers how in Bhutan, all houses are made of wood. The government permits the people to cut as many trees as they want to make houses but on condition that they will plant double that number of trees.

The last and final section speaks of death. Everyone dies but each death differs. Death is the severing of all ties. It’s like the falling of leaves, a descend from the safety and security of life to the depths of death’s oblivion. Life is the fragile thread wound loosely around the slender fingers of a playful child. It may slide off, break any moment. Writing about his father’s bidding goodbye all too unexpectedly, Madhupal remembers with pain the one and only time his father had beaten him. That was when he, in his eagerness to run to school, had uprooted a whole plant for plucking a flower. His father was teaching him the lesson that all things in nature, may it be animals or plants, have the right to live in their goodness. Man is not the master of all created things, he is just one among them.

Madhupal’s justification for writing the book is interesting. He writes, ‘If we do not open up our minds, memories will fade away… they’ll be forgotten…’ The book attempts at tracing Madhupal’s innermost self as an individual, as a member of this society, and in these times. When one puts memories to pages, this happens inevitably. Madhupal realises this magic of story telling – ‘It so happens. Telling our stories, we may walk new paths where we’ll see sights familiar and unfamiliar. We’ll then start talking about them. Our words may not necessarily be about what we saw or heard. They may simply mark our journey along the alleys of our dreams….’

There Will Come a Time When We’ll Listen to Words

Madhupal

Green Pepper Publica

Rs. 225


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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 8:53:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/When-memories-speak/article14563986.ece

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