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A Study by Vathukkat Krishnan Kutty
This book is an Autobiography as well as a Memoir.
The author has painted life on a large canvas. It is a story of migration, separation, and uprootedness. It is representative of life at large. It is all comprehensive. It is a multidimensional book. One can find at least some aspects of his life corresponding to the author’s life. Some have ascribed the writing to that of R.K.Naryanan’s style, yet to some others it is movie material. They are all right in their Perspective.
I, on my part also find glimpses of the writing style of o.v.vijayan and Ruskin Bond’s writing in this literary piece. Many of the characters (individuals) of this autobiography reminds us characters of O.V.Vijayan’s
MAGNUM OPUS Novel KHASAKINTE ITHIHASAM (THE LEGENDS OF KHASAK.
The untouchables, cattle herder Chami, farmhand Kandan, The Tamil Muslim shopkeeper Rowther, Pallichami the demented cobbler who is a world war veteran, Temple priest’s son Parameswaran, Bicycle repairer Sulaiman, Yousuf the sodawallah, Ponnumani the bullock cart driver, Hanif the beedi roller, Bharatan the barber makeup man, Arumugan Director of play, Shanta Kumari the intelligent student duped to become a call girl and keep, Teacher cum postmaster are all counterparts of O.V.Vijayans novel. Though the portrayal is sketchy and through passing references, it has similarities. Likewise description of locales like MALAKKAD, the distant Gayatri river, the village center KOLLAPPADAM all reverberates with the story of KHASAK. If it is cholera and TB the villainous killer disease in this book, it is smallpox in Ov’s book.
O.V.VIJAYAN was a card-carrying communist, expelled from college for his left leanings and what made him rethink about his communist beliefs was the secret trial and execution of the HUNGARIAN COMMUNIST ICON IMRE NAGY. This author had also communist leanings and also changed his views due to some events. The similarities in their thinking are to be noted.
According to Ruskin bond you get two kinds of writers. The subjective and the objective. Subjective writer ends up writing about almost everything happening to him. A good autobiography should be both subjective and objective. 77 shades of green is both subjective and objective.
What is an Autobiography?
It is literature of personal revelation and introspection. Autobiography cannot be finished, it is in the making and only a fragment of life. It is both literature and history. it seeks the meaning of life and truthfulness, do not hide weaknesses. 77 greens of shade conforms to all these parameters.
The IFs of History is applicable not only to nations but also to individual lives. There are many IFs in the author’s life.
- Dream of becoming a communist leader.
- Writing Malayalam Visharat exam.
- Choosing academics over sports.
- Choosing defense service over civil service.
- Declining marriage proposal of Leena.
- We are offered multiple choices in life.one can choose but cannot as per own preference. Due to circumstances. What we are Is because of what we want to be, but circumstances play their part also.
There are two types of writers.
- Prolific writer.
- Those who write one or two literary masterpieces and become famous.
THE author belongs to the latter category.
AN Autobiography should have a definite period.
Coming to the IFs, if the book has been written twenty years back as per the requests and wishes of his family members, The narrative would have been different. The author had a memory lapse, was not even able to recognize his wife. But by the grace of the Almighty, he recovered 80% of his memory after treatment. But for that the book would not have seen the light of the day. I wonder, how he was able to give us such an enormous and vast cultural landscape through this book.
To sum up, I would like to quote Divya, who has quoted late Tony Morrisons view on book writing.
If there is a book that you want to read, but it has not been written yet, then you must write it — Tony Morrison
Like Tony Morrison’s writings, this book makes you feel a sense of responsibility to your people.