Listening to N S Madhavan is indeed a refreshing experience in itself. I've always wanted to listen to him talk, more so, after reading his debut novel Litanies of Dutch Battery, a wonderful piece of historical fiction on the 'bridge islanders'. His legacy continues in Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan, his writer-daughter - who has got the proverbial mantle of her father (two-fold? One needs to see!) saddled on to her heart! Her blog titled ‘compulsive confessions’ is a delight to bloggers, and, it’s not a surprise though - that she has one of the largest ‘follower’-base amongst bloggers in the Indian subcontinent.
Modest, unassuming and at the same time very forthright in his observations, Madhavan has always been a writer and critic who, leaves behind the beaten track, and attempts to redraw the contours with a deep passion and commitment for an alternative society built on equality and respect for life. The last time I heard him talk was exactly a year ago, at the Kochi Biennale Foundation’s “Let’s Talk” event titled “Another Cosmopolitanism” on 29 July 2014 in Kochi. For a quick update on their interactive talk, click on our past post HERE
Indeed, we had gone all the way to Thrissur only to listen to this great writer, and he did not let us down. Also, there was never a dull moment throughout his ninety-minute talk.
N S Madhavan spoke at length on “Marginalisation and Issues of Representation with respect to Malayalam Literature”. Well, here, I was taken aback, because my knowledge of Malayalam literature waslimited to just four — MTV or M T Vasudevan Nair, Ayyappa Panicker, C. V. Balakrishnan, and VKN.
Now, my initial consternation of soul gave way to one of surprise, wonder and amazement when he started off with the history of Kerala and related it to its immense array of literature that Malayalam has produced over the decades. His astonishing panoramic sweep of Malayalam Literature’s origins till the latest crop of writers of the present century made us hook on to our seats till the end!
to be contd...