"I should write whatever I feel. I have written whatever I have felt"
Vannadasan is a writer who has earned a special place in the Tamil literary world through his unique style of crafting stories. The proud son of T. K. Sivasankaran – a renowned literary critic, Vannadasan was born on 1946 in Tirunelveli, India.
His real name is Kalyana Sundaram and he writes stories under the pseudonym of Vannadasan and verses under the name Kalyanji.
Vannadasan has been venerated with the Sahitya Akademi award for 2016 which is the highest literary honour in India.
The short story collection, which fetched him the prestigious award, Oru Siru Isai (A Minuscule Music), rummages into the lives of people living in a rural town around the Tamiraparani river.
His father, T. K. Sivasankaran, is also a winner of the Sahitya Akademi award for literary criticism in 2000. They are the only father and son duo to have won the award.
Vannadasan has been writing for more than five decades and has published numerous collections of short stories, poetry and prose collections.
More than his poems, it is his short stories which have the magic of enticing twinges within us. Most of Vannadasan’s characters are the ordinary people you meet in everyday mundane settings. His narrations delve deep into their minds and reveal finer artefacts. He views the world and his characters full of empathy and love.
DESIblitz takes pleasure glancing at the life of this illustrious writer Vannadasan.
Vannadasan pays great attention and detail when describing the settings and characters which have made him inimitable among his equals.
Vannadasan’s poetry and prose are laden with a richness of meaning. He manages to give an account of an ordinary life in an extraordinarily beautiful way. Words flow in an impeccable rhythm and harmony. It’s incredible how involved it keeps you and how profoundly it touches you.
His characters do not shout or criticise society directly but they do it a very subtle, silent way.
Vannadasan talks about the loneliness of the elderly as the jaws of old age devour them. No matter where they live, village or city the gloomy vacuum grows as time pass by.
The rural folk in his stories are kind, honest and very innocent.
It is interesting to note that the artists in his writings are drawn towards alcohol and women and seldom pay attention to the problems in their everyday life. But they are fully dedicated to their art.
Some critics say that he portrays women as very vulnerable creatures, that they always feel insecure and crave for the approval of men. But his female antagonists are mirrors of the society in his native village, strong yet delicate.
His stories are full of poetic prose which makes it a copy of pleasure reading for the readers. Since he is a good visual artist, his stories never fail to paint an elaborated portrayal of life in the reader’s mind.
The metaphors and personification he uses to describe things are extraordinary and psychedelic. His writings are full of images and impossible for anyone to imitate.
After finishing reading his stories, you are left with a sweet pain in your heart which will ache for days to come. Vannadasan’s stories create other stories. The nostalgia of the bygone days is kindled. He can make heroes out of ordinary characters.
In one of his stories he narrates about a mother:
“A mother can serve you nothing yet make you feel like you are served with everything. She will bring you a tumbler of water. As she gives you the goblet she will wipe out the droplets clinging around the glass. That dabbing would be a magic. And anyone who has had sipped water from mum’s hand is it possible for them to forget her, I do not know.”
A delicate and inexpressible feeling reinforces his writings. He criticises the society through his characters in a very subtle yet powerful way.
Vannadasan writings are a nourishment to all five senses. There are aromas to sniff, visual feasts for the eyes, flavours for the taste buds, and plentiful entities to touch and feel.
Vannadasan’s narratives have the enchanted touch of melancholic nostalgia. He recounts a squirrel which runs here and there twitchy and agitated to portray his antagonist’s restless feelings. He describes a prostitute’s long day’s end through symbolising the entry of a woman who comes to sweep the room.
Vannadasan is a recipient of many awards and honours, including the ‘Kalaimamani Award’, ‘Tamil Perayam Award’ and ‘Ilakkiya Sinthanai Award’ for his contribution to the literature. He also won 2017s ‘Vishnupuram Award’ established by the Vishnupuram Literary Circle:
“Let it be literature, art or philosophy, it should unite humans. It should not use any technique to dismantle a flower from the neatly interlaced garland. Air and water fill the interludes. The same happens with a good life.
“I should write whatever I feel. I have written whatever I have felt. This is not mud nor sandal paste, this is sand which slips through your own fingers.”
May Vannadasan achieve more in his long and colourful literary journey.