BOOK REVIEW

On men and matters

MALAYALAM

B. R. P. Bhaskar

EEYMMASSUM NAYANARUM ORU PUSTHAKAVUM: Deecee; D. C. Books, DCB Complex, Good Shepherd Street, Kottayam-686001. Rs. 85.

ONE OF the earliest and most prolific columnists of the Malayalam press, Deecee (D. C. Kizhakkemuri, 1914-99) was avidly read for more than half a century.

His cryptic comments on men and matters delighted more than one generation. This volume is a collection of 40 pieces penned by him in 1996-97.

He was very much in demand at that time as a speaker at cultural events, and much of the book reads like diary accounts of such occasions. He set a record on one day by inaugurating three functions in a span of two hours.

Deecee's observations about men of letters and works of literature constitute the best part of the work. His ability to make his point without labouring hard is quite in evidence throughout.

He quotes M. T. Vasudevan Nair as saying bad books always sell better than good ones and quietly demolishes the theory by pointing out that M.T. is one of three or four writers who have sold most in the past few years.

Deecee often entices readers with enigmatic headlines. Who can turn away when he flaunts titles like "From Kallampara to the Governor", "From Irinjalakkuda to Delhi", "Elikkulam, Atlanta", "Mathews the First to Nijalingappa" and "Malayalam in US and KS"?

He holds the readers' attention by presenting even prosaic information in a picturesque manner, as when he writes: "Yesterday was June 19. The previous day was 18. Going back farther, there was 17. I have something to say here about all the three days. I don't say they are unforgettable days. Still... "

Apart from literature and culture, matters such as politics figure in his writings. Occasionally, he raises issues of wide import too.

For instance, he asks whether the curse or madness called bandh must be permitted. Whatever the subject, he impresses readers with a wide sweep of his mind.

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