Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Book Review: Nammamma Andre Nangishta (Short Essays collection in Kannada) by Vasudhendra

This is a collection of twelve life stories; half of them are experiences of author in association with his mother, so the anthology takes the name ‘I like my mother’. They all exhibit ground to earth lifestyle of the author, his innocent upbringing and less materialistic but more humanistic approach towards life. Few essays are descriptive incidents and other follow the author from his childhood to adulthood. Two of them made me re-read as I enjoyed them most and I would like to expand on here.

Stainless Steel Utensils: Author’s mother had a strange fascination towards stainless steel utensils which were a symbol of prestige in homes few decades ago. After her marriage, she finds that there are no steel utensils in her husband’s house. Though it depresses her, she takes oath to fill the house with what she adores. And the opportunity comes soon. When she gets pregnant, her husband asks what her desire is, that is when the first stainless steel plate finds way into the house. When her son (author of this book) grows up and begins his earning in Madras, he takes her into a multi-storied shop selling stainless steel utensils, she becomes speechless with wonder seeing all that is on display. Her son comforts her putting hand around her shoulders and all those shining utensils reflect their joy. But this strong fascination of her does not get carried to her children. The author retains few utensils in memory of his mother and the touch of them brings him the memory and the feeling of motherly touch.

Annavru visiting my town: People of Karnataka identify Rajkumar, veteran actor of Kannada film industry as ‘Annavru’ (elder brother). When this popular movie star visits the small town of the author, all the population of the town waits in front of the house where the actor was taking rest. All of them wanted to see the actor whom they had seen only on movie screen before. Rajkumar comes out along with little his son, waves hands at all of those who had gathered there and disappears back into home. Author’s mother puts her young son on her shoulders so that he can take a look at the actor though she fails to see the actor herself. While returning home, mother and son visit Lord Hanuman temple, sit down in the temple as mother exchanges casuals with temple priest. That is when the priest requests author’s mother to sing devotional songs. When she begins singing, closing her eyes with involvement, two cars arrive at the temple silently. And the actor Rajkumar walks into the temple to offer his prayer. When author’s mother stops singing in wonder, he gestures her not to stop singing. After Pooja gets over, before leaving the temple, the actor checks with author (who was young then) what he is studying and advises him to do well. After this memorable experience, the same night author checks with her mother if she will perform the act of warding off the evil’s eye. She firmly rejects it claiming the actor is a good person so only good thing can happen to her son.

Though I liked the above two life stories most, other essays too are enjoyable reads. An essay titled ‘Guest and the monkey’ summarizes a funny experience of the author that makes the reader laugh out aloud. Priced at Rs. 60, this book is a steal. This book has won award from Karnataka Shaitya Academy as well. For all Kannada book readers, this book is enjoyable experience as it makes you both inward and lighter. For those considering to gift books, this is a perfect match as it comes in pocket size and easy to send it across.