It is a simple phrase we use mostly when we get drowned in the sweet old memories and this novel by Stella Bruce is also on the same theme. Sometimes the painful memories give a sarcastic pleasure in revisting them and thats how our protagonist Ramkumar derives it from the incidents that wrench his heart. After all life is something that should be balanced with the past and the present. You can't completely forget the past. This was one of the most acclaimed novel of its times when it came as a series in Anandha Vikatan weekly. This novel had a terrific impact on me in the sense that it reminded me a lot of incidents when I used to be an impulsive person and some incidents of this novel had actually happened in my place. In a way this novel is something I took closer to my heart as it showed how one should be in relationships.
Let me keep the plot in short. Ramkumar alias Ramji is in inter caste love with Brahmin girl Sugandha and they decide to get married once their respective siblings' marriages are over. Ramji comes across many young girls in his life like a prostitute Celia, her younger sister Rosemary, Rudhra a budding cinema artiste. He has a soft corner for the opposite sex, so squeezes some times to spend with them to satisfy their small wishes without bothering to inform Sugandha. But he makes it clear to all these girls that he is madly in love with Sugandha. Certain incidents make Sugandha doubt about his sincerity and small trivial lies Ramji told to spend time with those girls throwing spanner into the spikes of otherwise smooth running love life toppling it forever. Sugandha marries an NRI and comes back as a mentally affected one, Rosemary was brutally raped and commits suicide with poor Ramji left helpless as a mere spectator of these incidents.
This after "Maya Nadhigal" is probably the best of Stella Bruce's novels. He claims that this novel is a compilation of real incidents around his life and is very down to earth. As a justification for excessive melodrama towards the end, Stella claims that he had just presented the real incidents in an objective manner. The style of writing is simply compelling with the visuals of Ramji and Sugandha unfolding before your eyes while reading itself. Every thing including the locations and the daily chores were beautifully elaborated that you really feel like being in the place. Else how can you be hooked in the otherwise sluggish paced novel. Stella leaves some loose ends at the last giving us a room to make it up for our satisfaction.
This novel emphasises on the importance of being transparent in the relationship leaving no room for ambiguity else the consequences will be dire and also the absence of impulsiveness. Had Ramji being open about the relationships with these girls or even bothered to keep Sugandha informed about his whereabouts, there could have been a lot averted. It ultimately defeated his true love he had for her when she refused to belive him atlast. Similiarly if Ramji was not impulsive enough to burn the letters and if Sugandha was not impulsive enough to raise the question of Ramji's sister's existence, it would have passed as an another tiff that could have been solved at a later time with a hug or kiss.
An aspect that I loved in this novel is that it is told from the viewpoint of Ramji. The sequences of Raamji and Sugandha readying things for their marriage life, especially the scenes in the new home are really heart rendering. His ability to seggregate the reltionships between the girls he comes across is like a tight walk over the rope. Even if missed in any point it would have turned like a promiscous sexual affair. The paternal like relationship between Rosemary and Raamji is a delight to read and is with so much of depth.
As said earlier I drew many inferences from my personal life when I too was a highly impulsive person ( partially still ) and so could identify with Ramji. Infact I was someone bit unsteady on the plans changing at the last moment and also poor in saying "NO" so that instead of giving a solid reply I used to accept in the first place and dodge later with a lie. Also I had this unknown tendency to conceal my real intentions to baffle people giving chances for misinterpretation, just like Ramji does in this novel (like Ramji sleeping hugging Sugandha's saree but when she raises any doubts he snaps it with a curt reply). It had created a lot of problem to an extent of severing ties with someone who liked me immensely. On the whole this novel is like a living experience to me and I am glad that it came at the right time of when I am prepared for a marriage life where trust and transperency matters a lot.
On the whole "Athu Oru Nilakalam" is an experience which everyone who goes through it will identify those incidents. It provides a refreshing sight about the human psychology in love, insecurities and pains, ultimately making it as an eminent reading and learning experience. I suggest that everyone of you should read this and enjoy the journey with Raamji, Sugandha and Rosemary.
Published by: Kannadasan Pathippagam, 10 Kannadasan Saalai, T.Nagar, Chennai
Authour: Stella Bruce
Price: Rs. 40.
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