Reviewing Ajoy Kumar’s ‘Anganeyorumambazhakalam’ by Sabu J. Nair

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Ajoy Kumar’s ‘Anganeyorumambazhakalam’ Shared Indian Ruminations Literary Award 2011 for best Malayalam Non Fiction with Sulfikar’s book – ‘Fern Hill – Nithya Chaithanya yathi randu sanyasikalkkayacha kathukal’

As a child, I was puzzled by a rare doubt, road!

To put it precisely, I desperately wished to know, ‘where would the road end’?! The dark grey road teased me with its swirls and turns.

Somehow, it got inscribed in my mind then, “the road ends at the hospital”!

I started envying others who visited hospital. To me, they were fortunate to see the end of the road.

My chance arrived at last. It was not the loving reunion with my ailing grandmother but the rare opportunity to witness the end of the road that t

hrilled me, when I was crammed inside a taxi.

But, I was in for a rude shock to see the road extendi

ng further beyond the hospital, turning right and climbing up.

The answer to that ever wondering query still eludes me.

My growing years never bothered me with that query again. But, today, when I flipped the last page of Ajoykumar’s ‘Angane Oru Mambazhakkalam’ and finished the first reading in one go, it popped up again, reminding me that there exists a child in everybody. And only the blessed ones can nourish it and summon it at will.

Ajoykumar is one among them!

Kahlil Gibran once told, “The things which the child loves remain in the domain of the heart until old age. The most beautiful thing in life is that our souls remaining over the places where we once enjoyed ourselves”. I doubt, Kahlil Gibran’s prophecy is all about ‘Angane Oru Mambazhakkalam’!

The most attractive aspect about the book is the commendable display of simplicity and honesty by the author. Incidents and situations were viewed innocently and etched truly through the eyes and heart of a child. The author has never tried to impart an aura of heroism around him though the stories evolve and revolve around him- ‘I was also there by chance, hence I could narrate’ -style.

And the narration, amazing! As if, cuddled under that epic Mango tree, chewing those golden ripe mangos and hearing the stories directly from the author. Both are sweet, the stories and the mangos!

I will be at loss, if put to select the best among the thirteen stories. ‘Oru murivinte Ormmakku’ displays the ruthlessness and inability of elders to understand and respect the innocence of a child. ‘Binaca toys’ reminds those momentary greed and helplessness to erase a wrong doing of the past. I could relate to the author when he saw the moist eyes of an old friend in the face of his young son. ‘Lodge Muthalali’ prompts me to wish for that ‘undo’ button. At the end of ‘Cycle Annachi’ , when Bindu called out “Ajmare..” believe me, I too heard it. Both are philosophical stories told with an enchanting tempo. But, ‘Janakkale kutty’, ‘Manjuthully poleru Suhruth’ and ‘Tea shop Ammavan’ exhibit the craft of the author to carve out incidents from memory with unmatched zest and spice it with an enviable rendering style, truly the gems among the collection.

Letting my eyes towards the faraway clouds and this book held close to my chest, I relived my childhood in that (now razed down) old house of mine. I could hear the calls and clouts in a joint family. And, astonishingly realized, there is nothing to barter for the happiness of those days. I may not be alone; everybody might have felt the same after reading this book. And it underlines the success of this book- a book which contains not mere text, but an emotionally overwhelming saga of a child’s life narrated with an undercurrent of humour.

Braving a cliché, let me put it, we expect more from Ajoykumar in future. Like he and his sister along with the cats of the home rush to the main door on call from the fisherwomen, we would, when his next book hits the stands.

Till then, let me be consoled that one day, I would find out where the road ends!

As a child, I was puzzled by a rare doubt, road!

To put it precisely, I desperately wished to know, ‘where would the road end’?! The dark grey road teased me with its swirls and turns.

Somehow, it got inscribed in my mind then, “the road ends at the hospital”!

I started envying others who visited hospital. To me, they were fortunate to see the end of the road.

My chance arrived at last. It was not the loving reunion with my ailing grandmother but the rare opportunity to witness the end of the road that thrilled me, when I was crammed inside a taxi.

But, I was in for a rude shock to see the road extending further beyond the hospital, turning right and climbing up.

The answer to that ever wondering query still eludes me.

My growing years never bothered me with that query again. But, today, when I flipped the last page of Ajoykumar’s ‘Angane Oru Mambazhakkalam’ and finished the first reading in one go, it popped up again, reminding me that there exists a child in everybody. And only the blessed ones can nourish it and summon it at will.

Ajoykumar is one among them!

Kahlil Gibran once told, “The things which the child loves remain in the domain of the heart until old age. The most beautiful thing in life is that our souls remaining over the places where we once enjoyed ourselves”. I doubt, Kahlil Gibran’s prophecy is all about ‘Angane Oru Mambazhakkalam’!

The most attractive aspect about the book is the commendable display of simplicity and honesty by the author. Incidents and situations were viewed innocently and etched truly through the eyes and heart of a child. The author has never tried to impart an aura of heroism around him though the stories evolve and revolve around him- ‘I was also there by chance, hence I could narrate’ -style.

And the narration, amazing! As if, cuddled under that epic Mango tree, chewing those golden ripe mangos and hearing the stories directly from the author. Both are sweet, the stories and the mangos!

I will be at loss, if put to select the best among the thirteen stories. ‘Oru murivinte Ormmakku’ displays the ruthlessness and inability of elders to understand and respect the innocence of a child. ‘Binaca toys’ reminds those momentary greed and helplessness to erase a wrong doing of the past. I could relate to the author when he saw the moist eyes of an old friend in the face of his young son. ‘Lodge Muthalali’ prompts me to wish for that ‘undo’ button. At the end of ‘Cycle Annachi’ , when Bindu called out “Ajmare..” believe me, I too heard it. Both are philosophical stories told with an enchanting tempo. But, ‘Janakkale kutty’, ‘Manjuthully poleru Suhruth’ and ‘Tea shop Ammavan’ exhibit the craft of the author to carve out incidents from memory with unmatched zest and spice it with an enviable rendering style, truly the gems among the collection.

Letting my eyes towards the faraway clouds and this book held close to my chest, I relived my childhood in that (now razed down) old house of mine. I could hear the calls and clouts in a joint family. And, astonishingly realized, there is nothing to barter for the happiness of those days. I may not be alone; everybody might have felt the same after reading this book. And it underlines the success of this book- a book which contains not mere text, but an emotionally overwhelming saga of a child’s life narrated with an undercurrent of humour.

Braving a cliché, let me put it, we expect more from Ajoykumar in future. Like he and his sister along with the cats of the home rush to the main door on call from the fisherwomen, we would, when his next book hits the stands.

Till then, let me be consoled that one day, I would find out where the road ends!

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