Sunday, 9 December 2012

In a chat with sex woker Nalini Jameela for The New Indian Express, I discovered how she unmasked the cruel faces of men.Her book " An autobiography of a sex worker" brings to light... the dark and ugly world of men.

Unmasking Cruel Faces of Men

We sell nudity
Just to buy clothes – Naa. Kamarasan in Karuppu Malargal

What is the masculine gender for the Tamil word ‘Vidhavai or Kaimpen” which denotes a woman, whose husband is dead?

A woman, who is forced to be a sex worker, is contemptuously mentioned as ‘Vibachari or prostitute’ but, how to call the man, who indulges in sex with her? A married woman is easily identified with her wearing of mangal sutra (solemnizing chain) and metti (Toe ring) But how to identify a man whether he is married or not?  

Writer Nalini Jameela discovered why such questions were unanswerable only after she was forced to be a sex worker. But being an exceptional woman of great courage, she is
Proud to be with the greatest woman of the century
still tracing the answers for these questions.

As Jameela experienced the bondage within her family when her tyrannical father, who claimed himself as a ‘communist’ and a ‘follower’ of Sri Narayana Guru, but often beat his wife brutally, Jameela could not continue her studies after III standard and was forced to work in a clay mine at the age of nine.

Thrown out of the house by her father when she was 18 years old, Jameela got married and gave birth to two children. However, after her husband died, she was forced to be a sex worker to earn a living with her two children and mother-in-law. However, with an object that sex workers too should be recognized in the society, Jameela joined an organization, which championed the rights of sex workers and penned her autobiography in her mother tongue Malayalam as Njan Laingika Thozhilaali (I am a sex worker) which has been translated into numerous languages.   

“My becoming a sex worker was something accidental in my life. However, I am not ashamed to call myself so. Because, had I not been a sex worker, I could not have understood the world of men, their pretence and their dominance on women” says the 60 year old author, who was in the city recently to address in a symposium organized by Aruna Aranilai on the title “Pen Ean Adimayanal “(Why did woman become a slave?)  

Answering to a question on why girls are deprived of their rights to express what they think as equally as boys, Jameela says:

“In fact, the rights are always with them. But, it’s a great pity that girls themselves are ignorant of it “  

“Her father guards her in her childhood, her husband guards her in her youth, and her sons guards her in old age. A woman is not fit for independence”

Criticizing the above verse in Manudharma Shasthra for its contemptible attitude on women, Jameela pointed out that girls are consigned to a lifetime of servitude within their families, which are dominated by male members like father, husband and son.

Recalling an incident in her life where one of her clients filled a glass of wine and offered her saying that he had never served even his wife by getting her a tumbler of water, Jameela took a pot shot on him:

“And that’s why you are forced to approach a sex worker. Your wife should have loved you so much, if you had treated her with equality, respecting her likes and dislikes”  

B Meenakshi Sundaram

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Kongunadu was a separate region in Tamil Nadu, where casteism or untouchability was never practised. In such a region of human harmony, taking oaths against inter-caste marriages or allowing a Brahmin priest to conduct weddings is against the age old Kongu culture.Prof Dr C.Subramaiam, former Vice-chancellor, Tamil University, Thanjavur, gives proof for this in his book Kongunaattu Mangala Vaazhthu Paadal. I penned an article on the unique culture of Kongunadu recently in The New Indian Express. The picture you see here is a Kongu Barber performing Prof. C.S's wedding decades ago.

After long years of penning her book " Suttum Vizhichudar" Kovai Uma Maheshwari proves her development in writing verse and comprehending womanhood in the modern era by bringing out her new book of poems " Ellorukkum Undu Punaippeyar" I reviewed some of her stanzas in The New Indian Express.

How many of us live our lives for the development of our mother tongue Tamil? But, the life lived by the veteran scholar Periyasamy Thooran is an example for Tamil teachers of schools, colleges and universities of the present day. Thooran's compilation of the ten-volume Tamil Kalaikalanchium, a universal encyclopedia will pronounce his name for eras. Indeed, I took pride, as I penned an article on him in The New Indian Express recently.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

A Chat with the Star of " Oho" Productions

Having a chat with Sachu for the New Indian Express

Never thought of having a snap with Sachu, when I first enjoyed her dance for the number " Malarendra Mugam Ondru" in Sridar's block buster Kadhalikka Neramillai

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Lakshmi, did you read my SMS ?

The over eighty year old Lakshmi, whose dark face still plays 
hide and seek in my dim memories, left her world of woes on Friday.

On the serenity of a night, she came to me
And recollected her active days of art.
It's almost a couple of years now.

With silence engulfing the handful of houses at Erwadi, Ramesh, as Aravan
Was marching towards the altar, where he would be beheaded the next morning.
Lakshmi, hooding her hair-dropped head with a scarf, kept telling me 
How she discovered a dancer in her.
Her feeble voice entering my mobile phone.

I bade farewell to Hari and other friends, when the sky dawned with 
The crimson blood of Aravan the next morning.

 Within a week or so, I penned the memories of Lakshmi.
 " The Empress of the Lore" with
 Rare photographs, taken in costumes of dance
When Lakshmi was a young girl.
 The sale of the newspaper with my article in " Expresso" was nothing unusual.

Beethoven on his piano. Hari calls me.
" Meenakshi sir, Lakshmi Ammal, you know ? the Empress of the Lore, is no more"

My wife, child and I were heading to Thanjavur on Jansahapthi Express.
My eyes welled up, I tell them her demise.

I sent Hari a message to accept my condolence.

Left as an unburnt part of Lakshmi's limbs
The 'sent' message in my mobile phone still smells of 
Her death.


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Poet Lakshmanan, Murugavel and Ashok, the trio's endless journey in tracing the history of exploitation on the tribal people. I penned this article in The New Indian Express after watching their documentary " Naali" which means " Stream" in Irula tribal language.

Matinee idol Sivagi ganesan's everlasting friendship with Muthumanickam

Enjoy the music of Kongunadu

Chirpings that went in wind

The chirping that woke me up
 In a dawn from the trees

Gradually died away in wind
leaving memories of little feathers
Which I longed to caress as a boy

As anniversary once in a year,
Comes and goes the day  for sparrows
Reminding the shades of yesteryear
 Their  chirps  waking me up  to light 
a cigarette in the morning

The flock of sparrows pecking away 
The grains that mother left to dry on the 
Courtyard were once guests unbidden to home

Mother fed me,the adamant toddler, with small morsels of rice 
 showing the little  bird  hopping by the door
And, the visitor came home every morning to mock at my
Cries shaking his little nose.

My child, who wants to sight a live sparrow
In this concrete jungle asked me to post a 
Nest box to invite the bird
And  I did that.

We both are awaiting the guest, yet
The little one doesn't seem to turn up

Tired of waiting,I showed her a sparrow
In a book  penned by Salim Ali