Anecdotes of an impressed life | Daily News

Anecdotes of an impressed life

An interesting book in Tamil by a versatile administrator and writer, actor, speaker and humorist has found a second edition in 2006 and has also been translated into English. I had the privilege of reading the Tamil original only recently. The book is called simply Appa and is written by S. Thillai Nadarasa born in Uduvil in the Northern Province. Recollecting the wise thoughts his own father had inculcated to him, the author brings out cameos of lifestyles of real life he had experienced. Written in a racy language he takes the readers to a period that most of the youngsters have not had. Running into 100 pages, the book is priced at Rs.125 only. We stand to gain wisdom by reading his narration of felt experience.

I shall translate certain passages into English to show you the tempo and tone of his book which you would enjoy.

Thillai Nadarasa writes:

“He has never been to school. Walked two miles to work while he was only five or six years to earn two cents a day. He left his parents and the village while he was eight years old travelling to a distant place to find a job. However, he made his own effort to learn the alphabets and could manage to read magazines and comprehend many things to discern what was good from the bad.

He was Singaram Pillai, my father. InYaalpaanam he worked as a cook in an ordinary eatery.

In Yaalpaanam City, there are many roads crisscrossing, but only a few were well known: the Kandy road, Paruthiththurai (Point Pedro) road, Maanipai road, Kaankesanthurai road. The latter road is also known as KK S road in English. Even those who do not know English could refer to it by the English name.”

In short, the writer writes his autobiography, though not in full, transferring in the process of his growing up from being a clerk in the Police Department to the position of higher posts with the Government as a senior Administrator, besides after retirement as a member of vital commissions in the country.

One needs to write a separate profile to describe his professional career.

It is irresistible to let you know what else Thillai says in his book, but this is not the place to translate all his anecdotes.

I shall relate only his last account of his late father. It’s a moving piece and also shows the simplicity of his father.

“He [his father] was inspired by the preaching and action of Mahatma Gandhi, He wears only four yards Grey Veaddi with no colour borders. This garment became unknown in the 1960s and 70s in Yaalpaanam. He would s ay that there is no freedom after independence to buy a Kadar Veaddi.

When I say that I would buy for him a good quality and bannian for him as I am earning now, he would say the dress should be neat, clean, fine and smart. Should give us pride. It should not be expensive and glamorous.

After leaving the boutique Appa liked two things- one was magazines to read and four-yard veaddi. In January 1990, without telling him I bought for him for veaddis. He was happy. When I met him in February, he wanted two Veaddis. Why another veaddis soon after a month I wondered. He felt what I was thinking. “Thambi those veaddis are there, they would be useful when I leave for the otherworld. But to wear now I want two Veaddis”

I bought two. They were the last gift to my father. In March 1990 he passed away. I realize that in some circumstances he is teaching me something always.

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