Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Atmaanaam - a few thoughts

I am reading the collected works of Atmaanaam. Generally when an artist with potential dies young, he is immortalised forever in the public conscious as a genius who was plucked away at his prime. The next generation readers who read him without this baggage are sometimes disappointed by the quality of work. But there are some whose work is of the highest quality even without the context of their death. Atmaanaam is one of those people.

I first read about him in 1990s in one of Sujatha's columns. Though Atmaanaam had passed away in 1984, his name was spoken with reverence by modern tamil literature readers. His collected works published by Kalachuvadu publications is a real treasure trove. It contains almost all his published and unpublished poems, translations, essays and an interview. There is also a letter he wrote to The Hindu editor lambasting them for a review proclaiming film lyricist Vaali as the standard bearer of modern poetry.

I have translated a few of his poems earlier, but will refrain from it for now. I will just share a few lines of his from the book.

தனக்குள் தானே பொங்கும் மகிழ்ச்சி அவள்

நாம் ஏன் ஏரிகளாய் இருக்கக் கூடாது
சலனமற்று வான் நோக்கி பாறைகளுடன் பேசிக்கொண்டு

சூல் கொண்ட மேகங்கள்
மன்ணுடன் காதல் கொள்கையில்
மழை பிறக்கிறது

எனது சுதந்திரம்
அரசாலோ தனிநபராலோ
அது என் சுதந்திரம் இல்லை
அவர்களின் சுதந்திரம் தான்

About himself
சாதித்திருக்கிறாயா நீ
என்றது ஒரு கேள்வி
என்னிடம் இப்பொழுது
பதில் இல்லை
என் உடல் மரித்த பின்
எழும் கல்தூண்
முன் கேள்


Krishnan said...

Chenthil, that was a great intro to Atmaanaam. Incidentally I am going through En Nanbar Atmanaam penned by Stella Bruce which brings out few facets of his disturbed mind.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to nitpick, but shouldn't it be 'Aatmaanaam'?

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