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Saturday, July 5, 2008


Can a book change lives? Can an author alter all the perceptions that you had on living? Can a few printed words induce changes deep down inside your soul? Can reading someone turnout to be the most cherished moment of your life? Can a book transform you into a different entity altogether? It was some five or six years back, I was then a small time reader, reading mostly cheap English fiction.Back then I read to keep me entertained, I read for the thrills it gave me, I read to satisfy the hormones that disturbed my pineal glands. I would have easily become yet another representative of this modern generation. A generation which takes pride in reading Jefferey Archer and John Grisham. A generation which is more than happy to fill its bookshelves with Robert Ludlum and Sidney Sheldon. A Generation which is unaware of the existence of Jeyakanthan and Asokamithran. A generation which reads only in English. A generation of mere Fakers. But then there came S.Ramakrishnan(S.Ra).

It all started on a sleepless night, jobless, bored; i was looking for something to read. And ended up with an literary essay by S.Ra in Anandha Vikatan titled Thunai Ezhuthu(துணை எழுத்து ). I wasn't too eager to read it. Maybe i found it to be too serious for my tastes or maybe i feared that i can never understand such serious writing. But somehow i started reading it, and suddenly all heavens broke loose. I was losing my conscience and was traveling into a magical world created by his words. It was like reading something that the my inner soul has always tried to convey . It was like all my philosophies were acquiring a printed form. It made me visualize the world just like the way my mystical third eye had perceived it. This is no exaggeration, i went speechless. The same night i went through the archieves finding all the essays from previous issues. I read them all. I read till dawn, and soon i could sense the difference that the words had made in me. A change was underway, a change that would introduce me into serious reading, a change that would make me go in search of my roots in Tamil literature, a change that will alter my preferences forever, a change that will make the name S.Ra sound like a chant.

What is Thunai Ezhuthu about? It is collection of essays in Tamil, in which the author speaks about human lives, that he has witnessed till date as an onlooker. He writes about his experiences with life, as a wanderer, as an observer, as a kid, as someones friend, as a scholar, as a dreamer and as a normal human like the rest of us.He writes about incidents that we all face, but in a way that we have never perceived them. He brings in front the truths and hidden emotions that we would have failed to notice.He applies magical realism to normal life and brings out something very unique and special. He makes words flow like a whisper down the ear, silent and mesmerizing. Intense words written vividly to capture the senses and the soul together. Stories about ordinary lives and their plight for surviving the complexities are narrated like epics. Like a spiritual guru S.Ra teaches philosophies about living. lessons that you could take with you for a long and unending journey of life. I know people who carry around Thunai Ezhuthu just as Bible and Qur'an , it makes wonders in peoples lives. It made one in mine.

My opinions on life started to differ, maybe for the first time i started to have opinions on living. Reading was no more a pass time, it soon became one of the very reasons of my existence. I ventured into unexplored teritories, i lost the fear that i had for literature. I read S.Ra till the last drop. He introduced me to Jayakanthan, Jeyamohan, Sundara.Ramasamy and all other men who served the echelons of Tamil writing. He made me understand Rushdie and McEvan in better sense. When I then saw cinemas from around the globe i was able to relate with the humanity that it portrayed. My search for life grew bigger. I started to look out for life in everything i that I sensed. He made profound impacts on my thoughts, and in whatever i write or do I could find his influence all along. S.Ra words filled me with something that i have been missing all these years. His philosophies became my tenets for living and a more sensible human being was born out of me.Hence there is definitely a book out there which can change your life and alter all your perceptions .It lies somewhere, in the undusted shelves of a bookstore very near to your proximity.All you got to do is find it.... before its too late!

I would be really happy if the book was to be Thunai Ezhuthu. And to know more about Ramakrishnan and his works visit arrow ::


The N03 said...

You are indeed very much right in telling that one book can change many things. Something very similar happened with me too. I was never a reader of books. But adversity made me read Sidney Sheldon's The Naked Face some 4 years ago. N then i started reading books like never before..but still a long way to go.

Unfortunately i cannot read Tamil properly (it wil take me 1 full day to read 1 page in Tamil!). so S.ra is ruled out (as of now)

Ingvild said...

"Can a book change lives? Can an author alter all the perceptions that you had on living? Can a few printed words induce changes deep down inside your soul?"
Yes, definitely! I've read a few books that touched me and changed me in a way I didn't think was possible. I feel sorry for those who have not realized how magical it can be to dive into a good book. Poor guys! Keep on writing ... I'll keep on reading;)

My Musings said...

Very true vignesh, Well I knew what it means to say, "reading maketh a man," my journey to tamil literaure was different,
had been much into english, but all the same while, been a reader of bharathiyar,

well it was from my english ma'm I got the love for the tamil liteature, she has been herself a reader of Jayakanthan, and she is currently doing her second Ph.D in his works, she s working in PSG CAS, hope u would have heard about her, she brought me into tamil literature, from then my journey started, Jayakanthan, Vannadasan, Sundar ramaswamy, Thi Ja, But Jayakanthan has inspired me a lot, His writings are great n therapeutic, His thoughts have nurtured me, and I knew that I had become a person person,

"Can a book change lives? Can an author alter all the perceptions that you had on living? Can a few printed words induce changes deep down inside your soul?"

Very much possible, There are many such books n great authors, I would love to share this two authors R K Narayan, who helped me in developing an healthy view od subtle things in life.

And Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie, What it means to reach out n make differences in others life,

as usual a very beautiful post from you, I second every word of yours


Vignesh said...

@ the n03

is used to read sheldon when i was in school and did like him a lot, esp his autobiography "the other side of me" was too good, how much the man has underwent!!

And do try reading S.Ra...:)


As i said before books are the only sources of enlightenment in the modern world...And it really great to hear form you. I would be really happy if u could suggest some great books from norway:) And as always thanks 4 droppong by...:))


reading maketh a man better said as READING MAKETH a HUMAN..:)

Tamil literature is soooooo wide there are so many 2 read... im just a kid exploring it with great awe...Have to read vannathasan and Thi.ja i am waiting for the day. Look at the treasures we have!!!

And thanks 4 reminding about R.K.... I believe i chose a wrong book to start him "Salt and sawdust" wasn very inspired, can u suggest his best work?

And finally thanks 4 those kind words!!

லேகா said...

//the first time i started to have opinions on living. Reading was no more a pass time, it soon became one of the very reasons of my existence//

what you have said is true...reading change got tat power!!keep reading..

Vignesh said...

hey lekha thanks 4 dropping... it was ur posts about S.Ra that inspired me to write this one...

Animated Junk said...

Can a book change lives? Can an author alter all the perceptions that you had on living? Can a few printed words induce changes deep down inside your soul?"
Definitely. it can. n i have felt it not jus once but with quite a few authors whose words u can feel right within u. As i keep on proceedin i feel it grow within me n sumtimes i feel in one with characters.
One such book is Fountain Head for me.
A generation of mere fakers- i like to quite disagree here. english too has its own share of sensible writing n ppl readin only english lit arent mere fakers on a whole.
thanks for introducin S.Ra. Will surely venture into tamil lit.

Vignesh said...

@ Junk??:)

thanks 4 dropping buy...

I am a pessimist when it comes to the society... I did generalize coz i found the fakers were in a majority. And I do read a lot in english and love them as much as i love it in tamil...I have no vengence against english authors.. But just the tamil speakin community which has long forgotten the treasures lying underneath..:(

And i will be really happy if this post made u venture into tamil lit.. I would take it as mission accomplished:))

raj said...

Hi Vignesh,
I am yet to lay my hands on "Thunai Ezhuthu", however his "Kathavilasam" is one of my favorite.

One thing that i cant help notice is the quality (print + longevity) of the books that publishing houses such as krea and kalachuvadu produces. It pains me that i have to shed Rs.500 for chicken shit that Michael crichton produce ("Prey" is one such. However he is a good writer). You keep the book for 2 years in your shelf and you know what i mean. Come on, i dont have to pay for the humongous amount of money the publishing house pays for the author. All im bothered is the quality of the book. Tamil books are way much better.

Also im not sure, they can match tamil writers (or as a matter of fact regional writers) in terms of dissecting the human mind and their relationship with each other.

Good writing

Vignesh said...

Raj, I agree with u.. when i look back into my library i find all those paperbacks of famous English books turning brown... And in a few years i m sure they r gonna look like copies of Bible from the 18th century:))

And in terms of paper quality tamil books r far good.. i love the layout and books from vikatan(a bit costly though!!)

And yes only when u read in ur mother tongue you can really associate with emotions!!

Anonymous said...

Finally,i completed reading all the posts with huge bingo!!!
Proud being one amongst the GODZ gang.

Vignesh said...

Apdingala anonymous GODZ member,
unnmayava solreenga?

Unga per-therijukalama???

Animated Junk said...

actually i do agree on ur view abt majority being fake. the wanna be cool kind who read for maybe cos everyone does it or jus to impress or for wateva sake
n i agree that the treasures of our mother tongue is actually being ignored.
At a point of time i wanted to read tamil lit, like the kind they thot in school but since my readin skills in tamil isnt upto the mark i cudnt cope
to be very true i kinda feel ashamed wen i take time to read tamil n i keep thinkin i shud practise but i neva got around doin it.
i think readin s.Ra is not so difficult as he doesnt use so many high funda words.

Prabhakar said...

S.Ra. has really caught the fancy of Tamil literary enthusiasts with his Thunaieluthu. He and Jeyamohan are certainly jewels in the Tamil literary crown.

Vignesh said...

@ Junk

All d best for venturing into tamil lit.. S.Ra language is simple but a bit dense, once u stsrt it captivates!!

@ Prabhakar

Agreed, Jeyamohan is a terrific writer(a bit arrogant though) i havent read much of him... should read kotravai!!
thanks 4 visiting!

Anonymous said...


When I received the link from one of my friends who referred me to this site, I read it as "Amawazai". Sorry! The brain mapped the letters in a hurry. Purely a cognitive error!

But the blog with FAQ has stars, crescent moons and of course full moons!

I read some of the posts ranging from Tamil literature to critical appreciation of ads during IPL.

Being from a village that never wants to become a city, I could feel the nativity in writing that appreciates the best and equally the worst on earth with a global outlook. I felt it especially when reading your posting on your arrival at Chennai on a rainy day.

Dear Blogger, the entire kingdom of pandya pledges itself to be your slave for your unique style. There is no wonder as why this puzhavar scribbles his thoughts even at 4 am in the morning considering the place where he hails from… the city that never sleeps… No time zones please…

What can you expect from a boy from "Aruvi Illam" other than to pour down his thoughts with such eloquence?

I would like to take time out to read your postings despite the fact that I gaze very little over the net. It is interesting man...Continue the good work...

Vignesh said...

"Amawazai"- looks good to. Maybe it will interest a kid from africa:)

thanks a lot for ur comments, they mean a lot to me!!

தருமி said...

i was thinking - very wrongly of course - that the reading habbit has become a thing of past. glad to know both from your post and the comments that there are good number of youngsters reading, that too, reading tamil.

என்னைப் புரட்டிப் போடும் புத்தகம் எதுவும் இன்னும் என் கண்ணில் படாதது என் தவறாகத்தானிருக்க வேண்டும்.

Vignesh said...

your worries are genuine... but as always there will be people to take the Tamil baton forward... and after coming in to blogging world seems to be filled with lot more sensible people than i ever believed to be..(that too young ppl:))

And reg the book, there is time you may still find it, all the very best

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