Yes. I finally spoke to Sujatha a.k.a S. Rengarajan the idol of yuppies who dream of themselves as writers in hibernation. Sujatha has been successful in many fields - professional Engineer (he retired as GM of Bharat Electronic Bangalore, was instrumental in introducing Electronic Voting Machines in India), Writer (he is the most successful writer, atleast commercially, in the past three decades in Tamil), Screen play and dialogue writer for Tamil movies, editor of On line Tamil magazine Ambalam....
He was in the Uyirmai Pathippagam stall along with Manushya Puthiran, publisher and poet. Sujatha had probably just come in and there was yet another fan of his. This guy had the rapturous look on his face, like he has seen god. Well, I have seen Sujatha from a distance couple of times (his house is in my locality), still I too was in such a state. I had picked up a book by Aadhavan and handed it over to Sujatha for signing it.
Me: It's Aadhavan's book, is it ok sir? (perspiring by this time)
Sujatha: No problem, I will sign on any book, even if it's a Olai chuvadi (Palmyra Manuscript). I refuse to sign only in scraps of paper.
Me: "dumbstruck" not knowing what to say
Sujatha: If its' my book I will sign more gladly
Me: Thanks Sir
That's the end of my celebrity meeting. Those few minutes left me on a high for the rest of the evening.
Spent about three hours in the book fair. Exhilirating stuff. The crowd is increasing every year, has Chennai become a land of book worms? Some stalls were so crowded, that we decided to skip them. From first impressions, Kalachuvadu, Uyirmai Pathippagam, Kannadasan Pathippagam seem to be doing well in Tamil. In English book stalls Orient Longman and Penguin are doing ok.
Books we picked up:
1. Therndhetutha Sirukathaigal - Sujatha (Selected Short Stories Sujatha)
2. Siragugal Muriyum - Ambai (Wings will break - short stories by Ambai)
3. En Peyar Ramaseshan - Aadhavan (My name is Ramaseshan novel by Aadhavan)
4. Oru Puliyamarathin Kathai - Sundara Ramasamy (Story of a Tamarind Tree - novel by Sundara Ramasamy)
5. Much Obliged, Jeeves - PG Wodehouse
6. Mapmaker - Poetry by Keki. Daruwala
Books that were interesting, but not picked up:
1. Last of the Liberals - essays by Ramachandra Guha. I wanted to buy this book desperately, but it was priced at Rs. 495.00. Thought I would ask my book seller friend to get it from the publisher directly with discount
2. Literary review of Modern Tamil Writers by Jeya Mohan. He has written a series of books analysing Pudumaippitthan, Thi. Jaa, Laa. Sa. Raa, Ka. Na. Subramanian, Mouni, Aadhavan, Sundara Ramasamy, Gnaani, Nagulan and a few others I forget. I browsed through the books, they were interesting. However there is a dogfight going on in Tamil Literary circles with Jeyamohan at its center. Thought I would first read Jeyamohan and form a opinion of his writings before reading his opinion of others. Will definitely pick it up some time soon.
Going to the fair again on Sunday :)