Tamil Nadu

Unleashing the power of imagination in the time of a pandemic and lockdown

Author Jayamohan has written 69 short stories during the shutdown period

The lockdown seems to have widened Tamil writer Jayamohan’s window of imagination. He has written 69 short stories — almost one every day — till May 22.

From an extremely skilful cook to Velu Thampi, the powerful Dalawa of Travancore, the myriad characters and the style of narration in Mr. Jayamohan’s literary works conjure up the people, as well as the period in which the stories have been set, in front of the reader.

While discussing the stories in his afterword on his website, the writer said he had recreated the people he knew about and fictionalised those he didn’t. The stories were packed with powerful proverbs long forgotten in public memory.

“First, I wrote an article on the COVID-19 pandemic. We are normally in a state of tension and anxiety [during such times]. It is difficult to differentiate false news from the truth. I suggested that we should steer clear of electronic media and the internet, and read stories. I originally intended to write fantasy and comedy [stories], but once I started working on it, I delved into other genres as well,” Mr. Jayamohan told The Hindu.

In fact, he had also invited his fans to send in their stories so that they could be published along with his own works.

“But most of the stories sent by them followed the same template. They were realistic in nature, and death figured in almost all the stories. So, I decided to write more stories. One story led to another,” he explained.

Mr. Jayamohan and his friends had earlier planned to travel to the border of Tibet through Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. But the lockdown put paid to their plan, and he made use of this period to write the short stories.

“The important aspect of my writing is that I write mostly for myself: to come out of mental stagnation and enter the world of dreams. The lockdown had also caused physical stagnation. The stories brought me out [of it] and made me relive [sic] in the land where I lived while allowing me to enter my dream lands,” Mr. Jayamohan said in the afterword published on his website.

He said though he had covered different genres, all of his stories were underpinned by the myths of the land. When asked about the massacre of women and children in Kalakkadu — a practice avoided by the Travancore kings and their armies — by Velu Thampi Dalawa to bring the burglars of the region to their knees, the writer said this was again a myth. “The stories were for those who consciously had deep connections with the myths. I could see that most of the readers had the sensitivity, and the stories had touched them,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 16, 2020 1:50:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/unleashing-the-power-of-imagination-in-the-time-of-a-pandemic-and-lockdown/article31681996.ece

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