He was in Congress party during the Indian freedom movement inspired by both Gandhi and Bose and then converted to Communism in prison by another inmate Mr. R Venkatraman, who ironically remained in Congress party till the end and became the president of this 'Mostly Congress' country. I grew up hearing stories about my grandfather, which were filled with only sacrifices. That background made me interested in politics. I remember an uncle of mine teaching me to pronounce the names of the British prime minister, the American president and all south Indian chief ministers as soon as I picked up the names of parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.
But, the politics that I grew up seeing and reading myself about is totally 'different' (I know 'worse' would be a politically incorrect term in the incorrect political environment of today, where everything is incorrect and nothing is going correct!). Like my grandfather, I have been hoping of an impossible revolution in my time too. Even if I find one guy promising for a season (just a season), my faith in our politics gets restored. That keeps me going for years. Even when things don't go as we want them to, I follow our politics to see how we handle them. That keeps me going for years too. Good or bad... I follow our politics. It's only the uneventful middle overs that I miss out in our politics.
Next, I have always been interested in reading and writing. Literature is the second most interesting thing for me. There are many accomplished writers in my family. That makes me interested in literature as well. It's always the non-fiction that talks out things straight and loud that attracts me more. Being someone interested in politics you would always have an eye for sensationalism. Only the non-fictitious political cover stories can satisfy that thirst for sensationalism every now and then. It's a different story that our paid media today is injecting fiction into the non-fiction as well. And, it's another different story that our politics is more dramatic than fictions.
You need lot more patience to read fictions. It's like test cricket. Not only because it tests your patience but also because that is what is called true literature. I don't touch a fiction book unless I am very sure that I would be able to read through the entire book without distractions. Likewise, to start writing a story as well, I need to have a lot of extra motivation, which has an acute shortage these days. However, I want to read and write a lot of fiction because of the mere respect it carries in the elite circles. I have written a lot of short stories in Tamil, all of which I am planning to put on my blog slowly and translate to English. But, not sure how successful would I be in translating them without losing the soul or how well would they be received by my 'English' followers.
How about mixing up both politics and fiction?! A political fiction! Interesting thought. I did have plans to write a political novel that captures every single drama that was witnessed by the people of Tamil Nadu in the last forty years. This has been one of the most dramatic parts of our history. There are few positives and many negatives... few unforgettables and many unforgivables... Not just dramatic, this has been one of the most eventful parts of our history also. The bad thing that has happened because of these negatives is that they have negated some of the most inspiring - revolutionary changes that happened. Our history books will be incomplete without these stories.
We showed to others how a different style of politics is possible in this country, which is good as well as bad in many ways. We were the first to challenge the super-powerful Delhi and the Congress party. We were the first to do any kind of social revolution after the Independence movement. The package comes with some bads too. We were the first to sell our politics to the entertainment industry for a cheap price. We were the first to do world-class, record-breaking and scientific corruptions in the country. Haven't heard of scientific corruption? You need to read our history! :)
We are in a period where we can't capture all these in a non-fiction. If at all someone dares to write something of that sort, everything including the writer's life will be in question. At least most of his valuable lifetime would have to be wasted in fighting defamation cases or 'ganja cases'. But, if you write the same thing in a fiction giving different names to the same characters, nobody would care. That's the flexibility fictions give to the writers. I don't know how many such novels have already been written. I don't remember having read any.
Mr. Hariharan Valady is writing a novel on his blog, which in itself is a novel idea. I got excited on the first day he said this is what he was planning to do. There were many reasons for the excitement: 1. He was going to do something that I had been having in my list for a long time (this is what I tell everyone after reading almost anything they have written about - as if I have everything on my list!), 2. It was on a subject very close to my heart, 3. It was by someone with whom I could relate very easily on many things.
Politics in general attracts me. I was even attracted by the American politics when Obama was in race last time. When I came to Bangalore in 98, Karnataka politics was one of the first few things I tried to understand. Even now when I have to break the ice with friends from other parts of the country or world, I choose politics to do that. If at all I am familiar with one thing in a totally unfamiliar land, that one thing would be politics. Being an Indian it's natural that I am more interested in Indian politics than international politics. Likewise, there is nothing to be surprised about when I say I am more interested in Tamil Nadu politics than the national politics. So, it was only natural that I got excited when he said his story is going to be around the politics in Tamil Nadu.
I had also promised him to do a critical review and give my comments once he was done with 4-5 posts. I couldn't do that because of too much work in last few weeks. I was repeatedly reminding myself that there is something pending that I had to close as soon as I was back in the virtual world. I think, I am very late now because he has already posted 13 posts. It's good for me because there is more to review now. It's easier to do 'a broader review with more' than 'a focused review with less', right?!
Wondering when I would start the review? I am so sorry. This has become a habit now. Every time I want to write about something, I end up eating up the whole space for introduction and background information itself. 'What is the need to talk so much about your personal stories in a review on someone else's work?' is the question most of you have, right? I think, it is these personal stories that make blogging different from journalism so it is okay. And, most people tell me that I am more elaborative than required. At the same time, some people do tell me not to try a different style as well. I am confused. So, let me remain whatever I am now for sometime. The status quo remains the same! :)
-The actual review will start in the next part... :)
Please click here to get started with the novel...