Bear with Me, Mother: Memoirs and Stories

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Item Code: IHL220
Author: M.T. Vasudevan Nair
Publisher: Viva Books Private Limited
Edition: 2010
ISBN: 9788130909608
Pages: 354 (9 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 Inch X 5.5 Inch
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Book Description
From back of the book

Writer and filmmaker M.T. Vasudevan Nair, popularly known as ‘MT’, is one of the most illustrious cultural icons of modern Kerala. Chronicling the decadence of a magnificent and uninterrupted agrarian civilization in the lush county side of central Kerala, his novels and short stories won him the Juanpith and several central and state Sahitya Akademi awards. MT’s work as screenwriter and director is Indian cinema at its finest.

To readers in English this book of memories and stories offers a rare glimpse into the mind of a literary master who recollects the people, places and ideas that inspired his stories. Featured in this collection are anecdotes, accounts of journeys, a homage, meditations on the literary craft, personal photographs and such classic stories as ‘The Soul of Darkness’ and ‘Elder Sister Oppol’.

About the Author

M.T. Vasudevan Nair was born on 15 July 1933 in Kudallur village in Kerala and was the youngest of four brothers. He began to rite very early in the life, and his short story ‘Valarthumrigangal’, written while he was a student at Victoria College, Palakkad, won the first prize in the World Short Story Competition conducted by the New York Herald Tribune.

He went on the win several literary awards, including the Central Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel Kaalam (1970); three Kerala Sahitya Akademi Awards: one for the novel Naalukettu (1959), the second for the play Gopuranadayil (1978) and the third for the short story ‘Swargam Thurakkunna Samayam’ (1981). He was given the prestigious Jnanpith Award in 1995.

Vasudevan Nair has been associated with Malayalam cinema since 1965. He has directed six feature films, three documentaries and television serial. He has directed six feature films, three documentaries and television serial. He has written forty one screenplays, and many films based on his screenplays have won national and state awards. His first film, Nirmalyam, which was written, produced and directed by him, won the Presidents’ Gold Medal in 1973. He won the National Award for the best screenplay thrice: for Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha in 1989, Sadayam in 1990 and Parinayam in 1994, and the National Award for the best film twice: Kadavu in 1991 and Oru Cheru Punchiri in 2000.

He was conferred the Padmabhushan by the Government of India in 2005.

He lives in Calicut in Kerala.

Gita Krishnankutty has a doctorate in English from Mysore University. She has a number of translations form Malayalam to English to her credit, including Cast me Out If You Will, a collection of short stories and memories by Lalithambika Antharjanam (1998), several short stories by M.T. Vasudevan Nair and two of his novels, Kaalam (1998) and Naalukettu (2008). She is the author of A Life of Healing: a Biography of P.S. Varier (2001). She won the Sahithya Adademi Award for her translation of N.P. Mohammed’s The Eye to God (1997), the Crossword Translation Award for M. Mukundan’s On the Banks of the Mayyazhi (1999) and for Anand’s Govardhan’s Travels (2006). She lives in Chennai.

To my mother, M.T. Ammalu Amma (1903 – 53)

She never knew what her youngest son kept scribbling all day during the vacations, in the room upstairs in our pathayappura. All that bothered her was that the kerosene lamp burned too late into the night – kerosene was always a scarce commodity.

I had a few stories published while she was still alive. Again, she knew nothing about them.
She is very much there in most of the memoirs and appears directly in some of the stories in this collection. And her presence can be perceived in the background of the rest.
It was she who narrated to me the youthful marital, adventures of the old grandmother in the short story ‘Vision’. We children were frightened of Velayudhettan (‘Soul of Darkness’), who was put in chains in the woodshed of the house next door to us. His family was closely related to us. Everyone said he was insane. One evening, there was a huge commotion outside. People kept shouting that Velayudhan had broken his chains and escaped. I was five or six years old at that time. I saw him walk towards our house, dragging the chains on his feet. Mother came to the portico. Velayudhettan smiled when he saw her and asked her for some rice to eat. Mother asked him to sit down in the veranda and served him a meal. He ate well and walked away calmly.

She did not live to see her youngest son make a career in writing. He picked up many of the characters and events that feature in his work from the endless stories she use to narrate to her after – dinner audience of women from the neighbouring houses and shored them secretly in his mind for future use.

This book is for you, Mother. Bear with me.


Kinship Terms ix
The Malayalam Months x
1. A Moment of Truth 3
2. Bear with Me, Mother7
3. A Story Is Born22
4. Where Stories Are Hidden 33
5. The Thumba Flowers that Sought Refuge 37
6. When it Rains… 43
7. The Festival Season 48
8. When the Kannanthali Flowers Used to Bloom… 53
9. The Temple Tanks of Kumaranallor 63
10. Those Who Told Me Stories99
11. An Examination in Victoria College 105
12. The End of the Play 113
13. A Place for Books to Live in 126
14. The Nila River I Remember 132
15. The Second Footfall 140
16. The Man Who Helps People Die 146
17. Seeds153
18. A Birthday Remembered 179
19. In Your Memory 193
20. Firecrackers 211
21. Vision 227
22. The Soul of Darkness250
23. Karkitakam292
24. Elder Sister Oppol 316
Glossary 339
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