A glimpse into Thrikkakara’s past

Cartoonist Sudheer Nath’s blog posts create nostalgia in times of pandemic

October 07, 2020 01:25 am | Updated 11:38 am IST - KOCHI

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its terrifying march across the world, people are finding solace and a means of survival in collective memory. Closer home, the popularity of blog posts titled “Thrikkakara Sketches” underscores that nostalgia can bolster survival efforts in the midst of uncertainties and anxiety.

The man behind the blog, cartoonist Sudheer Nath, who is based in New Delhi, said he began posting “Thrikkakara Sketches” on Atham day (August 22 last).

Having been born and brought up in Thrikkakara, he wanted to make up for his inability to travel home for Onam celebrations with a few posts on local history and the importance of the Thrikkakara temple, which is at the centre of the Onam legend.

 “Though I wanted to conclude after 10 posts, the overwhelming response forced me to continue as people coaxed me, giving suggestions, providing material and sharing their memories,” he said. At one time, the number of readers used to rise to 50,000 a day, he said about the 38 posts from August 22.

A street scene of Thrikkakara in the early 90s.

A street scene of Thrikkakara in the early 90s.

 

Thrikkakara Sketches comprise a wide variety of topics ranging from the itinerant circus shows that arrived here every year, to the Onam celebrations at the Thrikkakara temple. There are also posts on the first bus that people in Thrikkakara relied on and the toddy and arrack shops frequented by the locals.

Mr. Nath said that stories of ordinary people evoked a tremendous response and generated a considerable number of comments from readers. Writing about a popular barber of yesteryear as well as about the tea shops brought lots of comments, he said.

“Though we’ve had movies on villages, there has not been such a variety of topics dealt with in the writings on the past life of a place,” said Pratheesh V. Vijayan, a young filmmaker in Kochi who regularly reads Thrikkakara Sketches. Senior psychiatrist Philip John said people were living through a period of anomie and anticipatory anxiety. Good, positive memories were also a survival aid, he said.

One of the posts in the blog titled ‘Thrikkakara Sketches’. A literacy class being conducted in Thrikkakara during State-wide literacy campaign in the early 90s.

One of the posts in the blog titled ‘Thrikkakara Sketches’. A literacy class being conducted in Thrikkakara during State-wide literacy campaign in the early 90s.

 

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