Delhi Days |ഡെല്‍ഹി ഡേയ്‌സ് [ePub]

by V.K.N.

V.K.N.' or VKN (abbreviated from his full name Vadakkke Koottala Narayanankutty Nair) (6 April 1932 - 25 January 2004) was a pathbreaking and celebrated Malayalam writer, noted mainly for his high-brow satire. Apart from novels, he wrote short stories and political commentaries. A native of Kerala in south India, his works are considered distinctive for their multi-layered humour, trenchant criticism of the socio-political classes and uncanny ability to twist the meanings of words contextually, thus lend a touch of magic to his language (which, at times, was English too).
VKN's works call for an attentive and informed reader who can recognise his allusions and follow his changes in language, where he shifts between English, Hindi, Malayalam and a distinctive variety of Tamil spoken by the Iyer community in Palakkad. In most cases, the use of language other than Malayalam is immediately followed by a translation (in parentheses), but these translations have little do with what they stand for in the original.
Born on 6 April 1932, in Thiruvilwamala in Thrissur district, VKN, after completing his matriculation, joined the Malabar Devaswom Board and worked there for 9 years. Like a good number of modern Malayalam writers like O. V. Vijayan, VKN spent many years in New Delhi (from 1959 to 1969) as an English journalist. The experiences he gained during these years that also coincided with the nascent post-independent India finds a recreation in one of his most heralded work, Pitamahan (The Great Grandfather). He entered Malayalam literature in 1955.
VKN is considered as a genius, for his knowledge in philosophy, history, art, politics, literature (both Indian and Western; ancient and modern), social issues, ethnicity, agriculture, astrology and sport. It merits some acquaintance with his writing style and deep understanding of language and politics to really comprehend and appreciate his wit and insight. Due to this reason, it is near impossible to convey his brilliance in translations and it is very difficult even for those who understand Malayalam to fully grasp his multi-dimensional wizardry.
His humour comes from inverting his own language to expose both the inner workings and shortcomings of our languages as a means of communication. In certain stories/narrations, the characters of the story/narration comment about the author. Malayalam critics have yet to understand him well, and a proper study about his works and style is yet to happen in the language. VKN served as vice-chairperson of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Thrissur. He had also chaired the Kunchan Smarakam at Killikkurussimangalam near Ottappalam.

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