An Inspiring Autobiography: ‘Soorya Vamsam’; Sivasankari (2 Volumes): Vanathi Pathippagam; pp. 656. Rs.600
Let me be honest; I am never fond of reading biography or autobiography. The reason is simple. Most of the times it will be an indirect or direct trumpeting of one’s abilities, achievements, success or popularity conveniently eschewing the negative sides.
I wanted to read writer Sivasankari’s biography ‘Soorya Vamsasm’ because of one main reason; she is a writer who had touched several topics in a rather simple and straight forward manner, that too in very simple rather colloquial language. Her sentences will not be complex or complicated or convoluted. It would be rather blunt and straight forward or at times mundane also. But, the greatest point is the message would have been conveyed in the right manner. Further, she is one author who had the privilege of meeting and interacting with many popular persons of politics, literature and arts. Additionally, she had trotted the globe indulging in a host of adventurous events.
How many will be blessed with such privileges?
I have been reading her novels and short stories of Sivasankari right from my college days and even now I have revisited some of her novels quite recently. As I have mentioned the striking aspect of her narration is her simplicity in expression.
‘Soorya Vamsam’s greatest favorable point is also its simplicity. In addition, the way she had been brought up, her school and college life, her married life, the greatest shocks and losses she had faced in life notwithstanding her very supportive background and specifically her ability to face them and come out with renewed energy. She had never shied away from writing some of the topics like infertility, the cruel effects of cancer and the unexpected reversals happening in life like untimely death or disease.
If you have read her novels ‘Etharkaga?’, ‘Triveni Sangamam’, ’47 Natkal’, ‘Oru Signam Muyalagirathu, ‘Nandu’ and ‘Paalangal’ you will understand the aspects I have referred above. Again the two significant novels on alcoholism and drug addiction are her very prominent contributions.
I should laud Sivasankari for mentioning some of her negative traits also without hesitation in the autobiography. True. She had been given great opportunities because of her contacts and the society she lived and lives; but, at the same time not all who have the opportunities use them to elevate their image with confidence and extend the same for social causes like Sivasankari had done.
The two volumes are highly readable and the last sections on her self confidence and spirituality are quite inspiring to young as well as aged who harbor feelings on the misfortunes and unfairness of life to them. Sivasankari says ‘After all, it is how one takes it.’
Post Script: The popular adage is ‘Truth is stranger than fiction.’ Not ‘Fiction is stranger than truth’. (Page 121 Vol 2)
In ‘Paalangal’ the second generation illustrations were done by artist Maruti not by Maniam Selvan. (Page 21 Vol 2)