'Sitara', the two-storey house of M T Vasudevan Nair, was abuzz with visitors on Monday as the favourite writer of Malayalis celebrated his 80th birthday. But there were no signs of a gala affair, except for the well-wishers who pushed in carrying flowers and gift packs.
Amid camera flashes, MT leaned on his couch with the usual frown whilst engaging in limited conversations with the guests. “Till date I haven’t celebrated a single birthday. The routine continues this year also,” he says. “There are usually no such family gatherings except for a special puja conducted in my home on the day of my star. My daughter Aswathy and her family will also join us. There will be a small feast also at times. I might also go to Mookambika temple.”
Adds his wife Kalamandalam Saraswathy: “He doesn’t favour a celebration of any choice. At home we don’t even have the practice of giving gifts or carry the day in a big fuss.” According to MT, his journey from a humble village boy to the writer who brought a style of his own to Malayalam literature and cinema was destiny.
“I am destined to be a writer. Why else should that small kid from the village of Kudallur who had exhausted his eye seeing the day’s chores in the paddy fields pick up his pen. If destiny was otherwise I would have taken up farming or such other occupations.” In the midst of visitors, a young man popped in with a rose flower basket carrying actor Mammootty’s birthday wishes. “He called me in the morning to wish. So generous of him to send flowers too,” he remarked.
With a half-lit bidi in his hand, MT said: “This smoking habit has been living with me for 60 years. But tell me before you take a photograph,” he chuckles.
On new writers he said: “In modern writings there are both good and bad writers. I have read Chethan Bhagath’s three popular works.”
‘Oru Cheru unchiri’ released in 2000 is the last movie directed by the veteran.
‘Oru Cheru Punchiri’ had struck the chord. It’s very rare that an old-aged couple love each other that deeply. Such relations have become a thing of the past. The movie had pulled both the young and old alike.”
On his latest work the octogenarian writer said: “A novel about my village Kudallur is half way through.”