KOCHI: This man used to eat his breakfast at around seven. In the evening! And before going to bed, he insisted on drinking chilled lime juice. When he was in his creative phase, he would dress up in his best clothes. He would go up to the third floor of his house where he would orate his story as if addressing an audience of readers. Once he was done writing, he goes to bed. This was novelist P Keshavadev who evoked thoughts of sympathy and helplessness in the minds of Malayali readers.
There was another man. He had a cat named Pussy which used to sit on the table while he wrote. While writing, the cat craving for attention would sit on the papers. Seeing the cat was bored, 'Kashakkinte Ithihasam' author O V Vijayan would walk the creature down the road.
It's not just Keshavadev and Vijayan who were quirky. Writer S K Pottekkatt used to write five diaries every day with pens in different colours. Madhavikutty tied her hair into a top knot before writing any of her masterpieces. Kadammanitta Ramakrishnan used to pluck his hair while writing. And, there's more.
'Ezhuthumeshakal' written by Sreejith Perumthachan is a collection about the quirky habits of famous Malayalam writers. "Most people are just crazy about their works," he says. "I have always been interested in the lives of writers. Their habits, thought processes and interests have always awakened a sense of curiosity in me. People who love the writers will find these habits interesting."
In the book, Sreejith has written about 30 authors. "None of them are alive today. But their works are immortal," he says. "I knew about some of the habits. I talked to the families of the writers for a year. Every day, I spoke to someone in the writers' family."
The book, which is the 15th one written by Sreejith, is an attempt to implement a creative mind in literary journalism.