A note on AZHAGIYASINGER, Editor, Navina Virutcham, a Little Magazine in Tamil .
Original name Chandramouli. He has been contributing as a poet, short-story writer and also the editor of a Tamil Literary Magazine by name Navina Virutcham, actively engaged in doing his might to enrich Contemporary Tamil Literature. So far, his two poem-collections titled ‘Yaarudanum Illai’ ( ‘With None’ - 1995) and ‘Tholaiyadha Dhooram’( ‘The Distance That Never Ceases To Be’ – 2001) and also a volume of his full collection of poems have been published. Already three short-story collections of Azhagiyasinger have been published. His short-story titled Uncle has fetched him the prestigious Katha Award. And, he has received the esteemed ‘Thirupur Thamizh Sangam Award for his translation-work titled ‘Yugantha’. Azhagiyasinger’s poems and short-stories have been translated into English, Hindi , Punjabi and several other Indian languages. Single-handedly and steadfastly, unmindful of the fact that his literary efforts have not been duly recognized, he has been publishing the Tamil Literary Quarterly ‘Navina Virutcham which has provided place for many a promising writer and poet to prove their worth for the past 20 years. He is the compiler of the Anthology of Virutcham Poems titled .Virutcham Kavidhaikal’. Azhagiyasinger has also published quite a number of meritorious works of contemporary writers through VirutchamVeliyidu (Virutcham Publications). And, he has organized many a literary meet as part of his Virutcham activities. He is working as an officer in Indian Bank and now stationed in Myladuthurai, Tamil Nadu. His family lives in Chennai.
Writer azhagiyasinger can be reached at email@example.com
Address : AZHAGIYASINGER
EDITOR – NAVINA VIRUTCHAM
6/5, POSTAL COLONY
CHENNAI – 600 033
AN INCOMPREHENSIBLE PROBLEM
(a short-story in Tamil captioned ‘Puriyaadha Prachinai)
There was a phone-call from Padmanaban. I felt really surprised. For the past four years I have never received any call from him. After getting a transfer and shifted to Pandanallur he had never contacted me. When he was in Chennai we were very good friends. And, we used to go everywhere together. Moreover, both of us live in West Mambalam. Still we are living in this area only. His family is still residing in West Mambalam. He alone is staying in Pandanallur. In fact, Pandanallur is 28 kilometres away from Myladuthurai. He is staying in Mylduthurai and I am working as a stenographer in the Head-Office.
After his transfer I had seen him just once. He had thinned. But, I couldn’t talk to him for long. As per the rules of our Office if some official is transferred within Tamil Nadu then he or she should be there for ever. After Padmanaban left Chennai I felt really miserable. When he was here we would never fail to go and have Pongal and Coffee in Saravana Bhavan every Sunday. But, after he left Chennai I didn’t feel like going to the Hotel and eating all by myself.
In course of time I had almost forgotten Padmanaban. Hence, when I heard his voice over the phone, that too early in the morning, I felt greatly surprised.
“How are you Padmanaban? Wherefrom you are calling? Have you come over to Madras?”
“Yes, I have come on temporary transfer… It is just a month since I have come back”.
“Where are you now?’
“Is it so? You have not told me at all”.
“What to say… after all, it is just a temporary transfer… Ah, tell me, what is yoir daughter’s name?’
“What for you are asking?”
“If I am right, her name is Shruthhi, correct?”
“what is she doing?”
“doing B.Tech… in MIT”
“Ah, what I thought is correct then..”
“What have you thought?”
“I came across a girl resembling Shruthi…. But, she couldn’t identify me..”
“It is we two who meet often together…moreover the youngsters of these days don’t care to recognize anybody…”
“What I wanted to tell you is an entirely different matter… something you should seriously take note of… My office begins at 8.30 … and I have to get ready and run to the station by 7.3o … and I keep running in this fashion everyday… sometimes MIT students will also come in the train at that hour…the train will be overcrowded….the boys and girls will be laughing and chatting all through the journey…everyday I see your daughter…she is not able to recognize me as your friend… there will always be four or five boys surrounding her… all are college students only… I don’t want to tell you the horrible thing…these fellows will not keep quiet…they would be moving close to Shruthi and talking all nonsense with her…some boy would even put his hand round her shoulder… once I say a chap kissing her on the cheek…and he was telling Shruthi that kissing on the lips alone is prohibited… Oh god, I felt repulsive to hear his words…”
Listening to Padmanaban I felt terribly upset. “ What is it Padmanaban, what are you saying?’ – I shouted.
“Please don’t mistake me. For the past one week I was having a great conflict in my mind wondering how I should reveal this to you… you have to deal with it very carefully…Without speaking anything about it to your daughter, you should somehow put an end to it…”
“Padmanaban, thank you very much…shruthi is a nice girl… but, somewhat childish and gullible…. Somehow I should promptly deal with this matter… and I need your help in this…please…”
At home I didn’t tell anyone about Padmanaban’s call. If my wife would come to know of it she would start worrying. The whole day I was feeling restive; ill at ease.
In the evening, when Shruthi returned from college I paid her more attention than usual. “ How is college….?” I enquired.
“Fine dad”, said she.
“Do you have ragging and all in your college?”
“Nothing of that sort…If our Principal comes to know of any such thing he would send the mischief-mongers bag and baggage to their homes. Moreover, it is more than four months since the college had re-opened?” – Shruthi responded.
The whole night I couldn’t sleep. The next morning, as soon as Shruthi started for college I too set out. She was blissfully unaware of it all. I got into the same compartment in which she had entered. Of course, I took proper care not to reveal my presence to her. Four or five students saw her and waved at her boisterously. And, Shruthi began to move towards them.
“See, I have reserved a place exclusively for you…” said a fellow, grinning.
At this juncture I raised my voice and called out, “Shruthee” and she looked at me, shocked and startled. “Daddy…!”, she said in a weak voice.
“Come here and sit next to me”, said I . And, she obeyed.
“who are those fellows?” , I enquired.
“Friends”, said she.
And, she remained sitting next to me in silence. I looked at those chaps who were in the habit of mocking at Shruthi. They all looked educated. And, all of them had tiny note-books in their hands and invariably mobile-phones. Seeing me they all got down at the next station and climbed into another compartment.
“Are you traveling with these fellows everyday?”
“It seems they are making fun of you”
“NO, they do no such thing”.
“Padmanaban informs me so. Why do you deny it?”
They are my class-mates. Daily we travel together, laughing and chatting and having great fun”
“What about the other girls? Don’t they travel with you?’
“Malliga will also accompany us…. In my class there are just a few girls …”
“Shruthi, as far as I am concerned, these are all not proper… patting your sheek, putting hand around your shoulder…you may be friends, but there should be a limit…let me come and have a word with your college people…”
Shruthi started crying. “Oh dad, please don’t come to college and all”, pleaded she.
When the Chrompet Station came I too alighted along with her. Eyeing me and Shruthi her friends had gone ahead of her and disappeared from sight. “When will the college be over?”
“Can’t say for sure…sometime it will be over by 4 o’ clock… But, if there is some special class, then it will extend till 5 o’ clock…”
“Ok, you go to class”, said I and accompanied her till the entrance of the college. Then I rang up Padmanaban.
“Why, I didn’t see you today”, he enquired.
“today I came with Shruthi”, I informed.
“How long you can accompany her thus?”, asked he.
“That is what I am also wondering”, said I.
“We should see whether there is any other way to solve this problem”.
That evening, after her classes were over, Shruthi came out., with her gang of friends. Some of them noticed me waiting for her at the entrance. “Shruthi, your father”, informed one and they all began to walk away from her. With fear and apprehension shruthi approached me. I gestured her friends to come. They came hesitatingly.
“Shruthi is going to get married. If you are seen together like this, people would mistake her…” reasoned I.
“Sorry uncle… hereafter we wont come like this”, - saying they left.
Shruthi and myself were waiting for the train. “why are you lying to them daddy… they are good boys… we are friends and we are having fun… just that…”, said Shruthi.
“There is a limit to everything Shruthi”, I insisted.
The next morn I boarded the train with Shruthi. That day also I didn’t come across Padmanaban. And, Shruthi’s pals were also not seen. And, when she was coming out of her college in the evening I once again stood there, waiting for her. “they are good fellows”, muttered Shruthi. I didn’t say anything. Thus, for a week or so I accompanied her to college and back home. I talked to Padmanaban over the phone. “ Yes, I am watching all that you are doing. It is good that your daughter doesn’t know me”, said he.
After a week Shruthi went to college by herself. I felt it impossible to accompany her always. Further, I regained my faith and confidence in my daughter. And, I felt sure that those chaps wouldn’t come back to her.
After a gap of four or five days I called up Padmanaban and enquired. “Ofcourse, I am watching. But, now-a-days we can see several other girls chatting and laughing with the boys”, informed he. I felt relieved to hear that.
After two days I got an urgent call from Padmanaban. “you know what, your daughter Shruthi has also joined those girls and now all of them are chatting and laughing with the boys all through the journey”, informed he agitatedly.
I stood there, wondering what to do.