Stranger Than Fiction – The New Indian Express
Express news service
KOZHIKODE: Yasar Arafath C, 38, rose to prominence on the Malayalam literary scene this year after his first novel – Mutharkunnile Musallakal – won the Nooranad Haneefa Prize. He is also the author of three collections of short stories. Before becoming a writer, the native of Ramanattukara had donned several hats in life: mason, electrician, driving school staff, bookseller and proofreader. On the contrary, Yasar’s life – and that of his close relatives – has been stranger than fiction. Something he translated wonderfully into words.
âI have chills when I look back on my life. Whenever I meet orphans or abandoned people, I see myself and my eyes get wet, âhe says. Yasar’s father, C Abdulla, was one of the few people in the 1960s to attend university. But he was also a man who slipped into bad luck wherever he went.
âMy father had to flee Ramanattukara after his travel agency suffered a great loss in 1992-94. He then had a debt of Rs 12 lakh, âYasar recalls. Her family – including her mother, brother and sister – have gone through hardship at the hands of money lenders. âThey broke into our lives, raining threats and abuse. At school and during family functions, I felt isolated as an orphan because of my father’s absence, âhe says.
Abdulla contacted the family through letters which arrived once or twice a year. It took him 16 long years to come back. The debts were cleared and the proud father saw his family flourish before his passing last year. âAfter class 10, I joined an ITI. I completed Plus Two, as well as the bachelor’s and master’s degree courses in distance education while working as a bricklayer, electrician, driving school staff, bookseller and proofreader at various times, âhe recalls. .
Yasar also sold books to many schools and colleges, little knowing he would have the opportunity to be a researcher – which he couldn’t grasp – or become an author. His search for a permanent job ended in 2011, joining a public sector company as a pump operator. In Mutharkunnile Musallakal (The Prayer Rugs of Muthar Hill), published by Mathrubhumi Books in 2020, the writer presented a fictional account of the tumultuous lives of his own loved ones.
âThe story of my paternal grandfather Abdulla (Vayichi) is much more than a script for a movie. He had to transform a murder accused to save his family. The UK court sentenced him to death, but he was later reduced to repatriation to the Andaman Islands. After serving his sentence, he became a civil servant there. I still remember Vayichi telling me stories of Japanese soldiers killing an elephant and having its meat raw when they invaded Andaman in 1945, âYasar explains. Mini Prasad, teacher and critic, had this to say about his novel: âThe time portrayed in the novel is fabulous and remarkable. It is the solitary life of several women in the same story.