Afraid to write about humans, admits Perumal Murugan

Afraid to write about humans, admits Perumal Murugan

Think of Perumal Murugan, and his controversial novel 'One Part Woman' come to mind immediately.

The author was in the city on Friday to talk about his latest book 'Poonachi.' In a candid chat with Tini Sara Anien, he talks about his world of writing and more.


From your self-imposed exile 'One Part Woman' till 'Poonachi', how has your journey been?

After the exile, many of my works are being translated and this has turned out in favour of me. I am very excited!

Why did you choose goats as the subject for 'Poonachi?

I am fearful of writing about humans and even more about gods. Writing about cows and pigs is forbidden, which left me with the option of writing about goats and sheep. As I say in the book, 'Goats are problem-free, harmless and, above all, energetic. A story needs narrative pace. Therefore, I've chosen to write about goats.'

Among short stories, poems, and novels, which is most satisfying to you?

Poetry has always been a favourite form of literature. I feel I can express a subject and its emotions in the best possible manner through poems.

Who are your favourite poets?

I love Bharathiyar's style in traditional poetry, and in modern Tamil poetry, I love Sukumaran's works.

A subject that you want to work with in the future?

I have been trying to write about my ancestors. I am in the process but nothing is concrete yet.

Carnatic vocalist T M Krishna presented a poem by you in the video 'Works of Art'. Can you tell us about your association with him?

I was at his concert two years ago and that's when I asked him if he would sing some poems I had written. I
had written about 50 poems and he selected two or three of them. Keerthanas sung in Carnatic music are often religious but he told me he was ready to sing songs that weren't religious. He sang one of my songs
at a programme in memory of Gauri Lankesh. This is how we got connected.

An evening with Perumal

The event, hosted by Toto Funds the Arts and British Council Library, saw Perumal addressing the audience with help from his translator N Kalyan Raman. Sharanya Ramprakash, actor, director and playwright, read excerpts from the novel. The book reading gave the audience insights into his novel 'Poonachi,' and evoked much laughter. Lines like "We must make queueing up a habit" brought to mind demonetisation queues. Perumal said his book was about love facing obstacles in today's times. Having been principal in-charge and head of the department at a college, Perumal confessed he had to be a moralist too sometimes.

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