Naga Chokkanathan

Archive for April 2012

There are many ways to read a newspaper. I guess Suresh Kumar’s method is this:

1. Read one news item
2. Close the news paper, and your eyes
3. Imagine a fictional story with this news incident as the background
4. Find powerful characters, tie them to the incident
5. Write a story
6. Proceed to next news item
7. Go to 1 🙂

Suresh Kumar is the author of “Cracked Pots“, a collection of short stories published by Power Publishers, Kolkata (151 Pages, Price Rs 225/-). He likes Ilayaraja and Steve Waugh, so you can guess what sort of perfectionalist he must be.

This reflects in his stories too. Almost all the stories are very detailed with elaborate characters, scenes and conclude with a powerful message.

One good example is, “It’s In the name” (According to me, the best story in the collection). This story is set in the background of IndoPak Partition (1947 August) and narrates in detail, painful happenings that we might have read in nonfiction books. When Suresh Kumar writes the same with the aid of some fictional characters, we feel for the real people who lost their lives / family / friends / assets and more during partition.

On a similar note, Suresh brings 9/11, 26/11, Osama assasination, even the Nithyananda Video scam as his story backgrounds. But then, none of these stories are like newspaper articles, far from that. When you realize the story is actually based on a real incident, it gives an unexpected turn and satisfaction to the reader.

Buy Cracked pots: Book

The only weakness I see in this collection is, there is a mix of serious and funny (sometimes silly) stories. This by itself is not a wrong thing to do, but dilutes the overall impact the serious stories make, at least according to me.

Also, the layout of the book didn’t impress me. To be frank, it looks like a plain computer print out 😦 Even the wrapper design (especially the back wrapper) is not very professional and misses to make an impact.

Apart from stories, another thing I liked in the book is, Suresh Kumar has written a cute ‘autobiography’ to this book itself and it is found somewhere in the middle of stories. In a first person’s voice, the book introduces itself to you and tells its story. Nice idea!

I understand from Suresh Kumar’s Times Of India interview that he is now working on a novel based on IT industry, and another short story collection. Looking forward to them!

***

N. Chokkan …

28 04 2012

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What I would like to change, around me? (Question from : http://www.facebook.com/sftimetochange)

Many things, but mainly, “Don’t care” attitude towards rules / regulations, Sometimes even ethics.

Agreed, ours is not a society with 100% efficient rules, and even those rules which are good, are being followed by ineffective people bringing a worst result. But these can’t be the excuses for everyone to stop following them altogether.

Take a traffic signal, or a small queue. Just a casual scan will tell you at least 70% of the people breaking those (simple) rules, Another 20% will be looking for these people to succeed so that they can simply follow them (Easier!), the other 10% are the poor people trying to follow whatever was taught to them by their parents / society.

Let us say I am walking on a footpath, meant for pedestrians. At least 20 vehicles cross me every minute, giving a horrible horn sound. When I turn back and tell them ‘this footpath is meant for us to walk, not for you to drive’, They just ignore me, because ‘everybody does it’.

These are the same people who get upset when a politician gets involved in a scam and cheats millions of rupees. What they don’t understand is, they are doing it in a much smaller level and at the politicians level, it is acceptable because ‘everybody does it’ (in their circle).

By not following (simple / complex) rules, we are not only cheating the system, but also setting a bad example for next generation. It is as simple as that.

Till few years back ‘Moral Science’ was a subject in many schools. We used to enjoy this ‘story time’, where our teachers taught us valuable lessons sugar coated with wonderful stories. In addition, we heard similar stories and lessons from our parents, grand parents and when we don’t follow something as expected of us, we got punished without fail. It was seen as one of the growth factors.

This generation grows with a totally different value system (Except few rare cases). Here “Anything goes”, as long as you succeed. Those who break the rule and win are seen as street smart people and given extra points for this. No one even wants to think about the long term implications of such “Rat Race Everywhere” attitude.

Of course, a government rule can’t change this. People should change, following rules, regulations, ethics, cultural expectations, giving a fair chance to everybody should be part of our life, which may not directly guarantee us a huge success, but will definitely give us a good night’s sleep, which is important.

***

N. Chokkan …

08 04 2012


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The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Organization He works for / belongs to.

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