Literary activities in Chennai—some side lights 18/09/2013

The past week  was buzzing with literary activities which provided food for the intellect leaving  an  after taste  as well. The first event was a tribute paid to the  Tamil writer Devan  by V.Gangadhar, journalist  and columnist. It was  held at CPArts Centre, Alwarpet  and  the ‘elevator’ appeared too inviting  and the four of us who stepped in, literally held our breath  the few minutes it lugged us to the top shaking and wobbling all the way. Mr.V.Gangadhar’s   talk on Devan and his popular works was though informal appeared very lively and informative. It was interspersed  with touches of humour, as was characteristic of the speaker who ran his column ‘Slice of Life’ in the Hindu for 18 years.

Next was a Talk  by Dr.Venkatachalapathy on  the book ‘The making of the Madras  Working Class’  written  by Dilip Veera raghavan which was held at the Taj Connemara. The speaker, who personally knew the author and was proud to be associated with him gave insights into the book and a peep into the author’s personality. He said  his peers, students and   friends looked up to him and readily and most willingly helped  him in pursuit of his research on the subject  which was subsequently published as a book, the first of its kind. Only at the end of his talk, the speaker  revealed  that the author was visually challenged.

The third was the launch of a book  ‘Hitched to an Arranged marriage’ written by Nandini Krishnan  held  at  Express Mall. By the time we could locate the venue after parking the car at the basement, the event was in progress with the author reading portions from her book. I could spot a few familiar faces in the audience who appeared  to listen in rapt attention as the subject  remained  very topical  albeit the controversies it aroused.

The first event  had no Q and A but the other two did  and it appeared some ask questions just for the sake of asking and to  be noticed in the gathering.

The ‘literary’ after  taste that was left  in some of us who attended all the    events made us wonder  why the worthy books don’t get noticed and command larger audience as much as they deserve!


N meera raghavendra rao


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