Book Review – Ezam Ulagam

Posted: April 30, 2016 in Book Reviews
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After coming from a trip, having completed the book, I gave it to my dad asking him to complete it soon. He had already half read but was reading very slow. I asked him, till where he had read. He was like, “where is story in it, I had read till the place he takes ‘children’ up and down in Pazani.” I laughed, “They are not children, they are ‘urupudi’s’ ” He told, “it’s very tough to read, I feel very bad, that’s why I couldn’t complete it fast.” I shouldn’t have given this book to him. But I wanted it to be a punishment.  He used the word ‘Kuzanthainga’ (Children), I understood how innocent and kind soul he is, who couldn’t use the word, ‘urupudi’ He generally gives alms to poor people stating, “see what life they have, begging at this age, poor people’” Generally when the old people bless him I see genuine warmth in their eyes. I never give alms. Once my friend told, “namalukellam epo da ivangala patha sympathy varum” (When would we get sympathy on these people?) I told, “Never.” That and the way my dad holds babies in his hands are the kindest thing I have ever seen. I could feel how he’d have held me when I was a kid.

Ezam world

Everyone had told me what a heavy novel it would be and indeed what a heavy novel it was. In fact the review of the novel towards the end by S. Venugopal, kind of completely summarizes the book.

I liked the film Naan Kadavul but after reading the book I could see Bala only as an escapist. That’s what comes with fame. Bala is one of the directors who had got spoilt because of being in the mainstream. If he had not been in mainstream, he’d have been a great underground director like that of Alejandro Jodorowsky.

The exact criticsm by Venugopal where he says the urupudigal could be shown as some obscure object in any film, giving a third person account of them is easy. But look at the book, the conversation between these people was the cutest which I had ever come across. So many heart wrenching conversations. The first time the kid’s father wants to touch the child, one of them explaining the other what it would be like to cum, the entire Rasinikanth episode. I was able to live with them. It was not outright sad. Being beaten, being sold to some other, being ridiculed is their part of life. They find their means to be happy. Unlike us who find some reason to be sad, thinking of our Kanmani, thinking of people, thinking of how screwed up life is.

For these people more than all the above things, it was sad when their owner doesn’t tell them about their daughter’s marriage. I too felt that he should have told. I felt angry on their owner for not telling about their marriage, more than when he beat them, stuffed them in van like vegetables etc. He didn’t even have a thought of letting these poor people know. When one of them wants to have Kalyana Sapadu, they pool in money and try to get it for me. Their track changes immediately from being sad to a process of getting happy. That’s how short lived their sadness is. But not being invited for marriage still stays with me. That’s how insane ‘normal’ people are.

Even when their Komatha has her 18th first night near pigs and shit, it was kind of heavy, she doesn’t want to have sex with a single fingered man. But again she’d come out of it eventually like how she comes out her rebellion of starving herself after her son Rasinikanth gets sold. It’s making me sad now when I write this. They are living not only because they couldn’t kill themselves. They are the people who truly value life. Of course, like others I won’t call suicide as a petty thing. It takes a great deal of courage to even do that but these people showed me, it takes even more courage to live. It’s your only arena. Even if you know the result, even if you don’t have a chance at all, still… fight. It’s your life, no one else would do it for you.

Finally that night when the priest talks to Pandaram was what transcended the book from being a great book to an epic book. Pure genius. He explains about seven worlds. This is the second book when it comes to the most apt title for the book. The first one is Catcher in the Rye. Also when she says that she wants to see the lady nude, it didn’t shock me, I loved the honesty but what beat completely was when he comes out and says, “no, be it. She has some respect on me. I don’t want to see her nude. Forget that I asked about that.” The conversation doesn’t go beyond that. Pandaram says, “Ok” I can understand that he’d have been in a different state of mind but aren’t we all like the priest. Only lucky enough to hide all our disabilities inside us.

Ezam Ulagam for me is a positive book. It makes me respect my life. It right away comes to the top of the Tamil novels that I’ve read thus far.



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