My life and text are continuous journey of transgression, says Charu Nivedita

Explaining the concept of transgressive narration, the Tamil writer said it was like melting one’s life and others around him like a wax in fire

January 26, 2024 08:47 pm | Updated February 14, 2024 04:07 pm IST - CHENNAI:

Tamil writer Charu Nivedita in conversation with his translator Nandini Krishnan at the The Hindu Lit Fest 2024 on January 26, 2024.

Tamil writer Charu Nivedita in conversation with his translator Nandini Krishnan at the The Hindu Lit Fest 2024 on January 26, 2024. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Tamil writer Charu Nivedita said his entire life was a journey of breaking forms, and the transgression was not confined to his life but extended to his text as well.

In his conversation with writer and translator of his works Nandini Krishnan at The Hindu Lit Fest 2024 on January 26, he said the Indian epic Mahabharata was a transgressive fiction.

“But the narration of Mahabharata is classical. But in the case of my works, the narration is also transgressive and it could be found in my works such as Thegam, Rasaleelai and Zero Degree,” he said.

Explaining the concept of transgressive narration, Charu Nivedita said it was like melting one’s life and others around him like a wax in fire. “But it is unfortunate that many of my works are not translated into English. While I could release my book in a huge hall like Kamaraj Arangam, because I am the superstar of Tamil writing, there is hardly anyone who knows me in Bengaluru,” he regretted.

The Hindu Lit Fest 2024 LIVE updates

Pickpocketing for survival

To reiterate his idea of breaking form in life and text and give a shocking effect to his readers, he recalled the days when he had to resort to pickpocketing for survival after leaving his job. “I do not know that temples are offering food to devotees. I spent days without eating and about to eat the grass [arugampul] in Panagal Park, smelling dog urine. I saw the dog eating dried feces. That was when I decided to become a pickpocket,” he said.

He subsequently lived a life of a “catamite” after the pack of blades he brought to pickpocket remained empty. “It proved to be a Kafka moment for me. By God’s grace, a woman entered my life and I installed me as her clerk. One day I called the thug, who I worked for. He has become an educationist and is hungering for the post of Vice-Chancellor. I have written about everything in the novel Thegam,” he said.

Charu Nivedita, who is also the proponent of deconstruction, said if all the philosophies of the world were covered in a triangle, power would be on the top of it. “It is in a family. It could be patriarchal or matriarchal. It is in the relationship between husband and wife. It is the power that denies the right to the Prime Minister of a country to consecrate an idol in the temple because he is a sudra. That is why I leave my text open-ended and allow my translators to enter my text,” he said.

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