LIFE

In search of the perfect story

'Accolades and critique replete with hyperboles do not charm me anymore. You may not like my demeanour and brand me as rude. i shudder at the thought of my picture adorning the walls of the academi. But let me politely tell your I am unwilling to compromise on my convictions.

'Accolades and critique replete with hyperboles do not charm me anymore. You may not like my demeanour and brand me as rude. i shudder at the thought of my picture adorning the walls of the academi. But let me politely tell your I am unwilling to compromise on my convictions.  

As a writer, T. Padmanabhan refuses to be swayed by the praise and compliments that come his way. He shuns pretentious literary seminars and lectures and instead lets his pen speak up for him in simple prose. In a talk with N. J. Nair.

``AN AUTHOR with a spark of creativity complemented by life experiences can create a story, but a critic should have a thorough knowledge of literature as well as all aspects of life. An impeccable character and honesty too are imperative for sound judgement,'' says the noted short-story writer, T. Padmanabhan.

T. Padmanabhan can be likened to an ocean. Calm and composed on the surface, the simmering discontent and concern for the evil ways of the world occasionally surge out. Padmanabhan questions the abysmal fall in the standards of literary criticism with a stoic calm. Once he vents his ire, the sting in his words are powerful barbs that never miss the mark. Mindless criticism is the outcome of a frustrated soul who attempted and failed to become an author, he says.

He had been uncompromising in his official career too. While working as the Chief Materials Manager of FACT, he had been waging a relentless legal war against the corrupt practices and nepotism in the company. Being grounded in the basics of law, the legal battle which started from the Paravur Municipal Court, had a successful denouement at the Supreme Court.

Padmanabhan has many distinctions to his credit. He is one writer who boldly rejected the Kendra Sahitya Akademi award. Perhaps he is one author who does not make anyone else write the foreword of his books. The only exception was the eighth edition of `Gouri' which had the article on the story written by the noted critic, K. P. Appan.

``Accolades and critique replete with hyperboles do not charm me anymore. You may not like my demeanour and brand me as rude. I shudder at the thought of my picture adorning the walls of the academi But let me politely tell you I am unwilling to compromise on my convictions,'' he smiles.

This teetotaller who leads an austere life, longs to live in a world of his own unperturbed by the slanging matches and the politics rampant in the literary world. Sporadic snipes disturb the calm of his mind. ``In a literary career spanning five decades I have only 12 slim volumes to my credit, still I am satisfied.'' He might not be prolific but it is not quantity but quality that matters no doubt.

``My needs are limited. I religiously abstain myself from the seminars and discussions organised by the Sahitya Akademi. Still there are people who haunt me finding fault with the speeches which they say I had rendered at the functions of the akademi. I was accused of receiving an award without cross-checking with me,'' he says.

This does not mean he is surrounded by foes. He shares a warm camaraderie with the noted critic, K. P. Appan. His critical essays on the stories on Padmanabhan were widely discussed in the literary circles. The most appealing among them was the article on `Gouri,' the story which Padmanabhan wrote with his heart's blood.

The noted director, Sivaprasad, had filmed the story with the late Premachandran in the lead. The film had figured in the Indian Panorama section in 1994. But Padmanabhan has not seen the film so far.

Though travelled extensively, he is not prepared to write a travelogue. ``My sojourns have covered all places except the communist countries. When I relate my experiences to my friends they had said it would make interesting reading. But I am not interested,'' he smiles.

Padmanabhan has also turned down the proposition to write an autobiography, `FACT stories.' For, he is averse to self- adoration and is convinced of his contributions to literature. Like a huge edifice on the seashore he stands unfazed. The waves of inept criticism which lash on its feet only brightens its glory, no doubt.

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