Innocence, glee, tears, heartaches and unalloyed love - K A Beena’s Perumazhayathu freezes some bittersweet moments from the roller-coaster ride that is her life. Tagged as the ‘book of friendship’, it’s nothing but a touching memoir that sparks off a thousand emotions, all encountered by the author during various phases of her life.
In the preface the author draws an interesting parallel equating friendship with various forms of rain - torrential storms that uproot everything around, gentle but everlasting showers and dry drizzles that leave no mark.
She says each friend is a celebration, merry encounters waiting at the boulevards of life - a statement well in tune with the rest of the book.
She takes a nostalgic trip down the memory lane, opening the doors of her age-old ancestral home and introducing an array of characters. The intriguing pieces are set in a time when there was no double-shift schools, internet, or even television.
The first few chapters paint a carefree childhood, a time spent in complete concord with the elements. If the very first chapter ‘Yathrayude Thudakkam’ narrates her escapades as a two-year-old, ‘Kusruthikutty’ is an account involving her baby sister.
Girl pals, relatives, teachers and even pets find a place in ‘Perumazhayathu’. K A Beena, who has a spate of titles to her credit, also narrates in detail the way she got initiated into the world of letters.
The most poignant account is perhaps ‘Thoratha Mazha’ that leaves the reader with a lingering pain.
The author remembers Bindu, her younger sister, playmate, confidant - all rolled into one.
With a heart-wrenching sharpness the author recounts the day Bindu succumbed to death following a prolonged ailment.
The people are not random faces, but detailed portraits that reach out to the readers. There is Beena’s maternal uncle, a selfless politician-cum-social worker who left an undeniable influence on her while growing up.
There is 11-year-old Arulagam who breathed hope and positivity into a bedridden Beena, a rare and beautiful friendship that bloomed at a hospital ward.
She talks about the few days she spent in Ukraine representing India in Artek Youth Pioneer camp where she met Mihrin, a Tasshkisthani girl. ‘In Oru Russian Kanavu’ we get glimpses of a brief-but-thick friendship, their broken correspondence and the author’s search for her long-lost Russian friend.
You will also meet a handful of known names, most of them the author’s schoolmates.
Each piece exudes certain warmth and sincerity that we are easily lost in the stream of her memories. In her simple and unpretentious
language K A Beena unveils a world with all its beauty and raw honesty. Interspersed with old photographs the book is highly readable, the author’s unassuming style adding to its appeal. The book published by Current Books is available at all major book stores.