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Hailing the creator

DATE, September 8. Place, Office of the Tamil Ilakiya Sangam, Heaven (Yes, Tamilians in heaven had formed such an organisation). In one corner of the building, characters from the novels of "Devan" had assembled to discuss an important issue.

Justice Jagannathan (from Devan's novel Justice Jagannathan): Order, Order, do you know what day is today? The birthday of our creator, Devan. Don't you think we should honour his memory?

Vedantham (from Mr. Vedantham): Wonderful idea, but for Devan we would be nowhere. Why not organise a meeting and pay tributes to him? We all will speak and express our feelings for him.

Miss Janaki (from Miss. Janaki): I second this idea. Let us select someone to preside over the meeting. Why not Justice Jagannathan himself?

(There is general approval from those present.)

Inspector Gopalan (from Thuppariyum Sambu): No doubt, we all respect the Justice. But I suggest Mr. Sambu, the great detective, for the chair. He was the most popular among Devan's creations.

Vembu (his wife from the same book): "Ayye, onnum vendaam. Adhu oru asadu. Summa Pethum."

(But the popular support is for Sambu. He is chosen to chair the meeting. Sambu, rubs his prominent nose vigorously, shakes his bald head, grins and ascends the dais.)

Sambu: Vanakkam! All sit down. I don't want speeches. I will go to sleep. Let everyone speak out his views on our creator. This is the right approach.

Pattabhirama Iyer (from Miss. Janaki): I agree. We can perform an aswamedha yagnam with this approach.

Bhaghirathi Ammal (his wife from the same book): Whatever you do, do it quickly. Today is Friday; I am getting my usual "pootuku pootu vali".

Patti (from Appalakacheri): I want to say something about our creator. He was wonderful in creating true-to-life women characters. In those days, men seldom were present while we we organised "appala kacheris". Yet, he created life-like women characters like myself, Parvathi ammal, Kamu Mami and Seshammal. You can find us in any "appala kacheris".

Mr Vedantham: I was a hero in one of his novels. We, heroes, were generally very good . A bit of an asadu, I agree, but we had hearts of gold, and providence always helped us in the guise of good friends. In my case, it was Mr. Swamy, who was like a god to me.

Sriman Sudarsanam( from Sriman Sudarsanam): I don't agree with Vedantham. Take me for instance. As a hero, I did bad things, stole money from the office and from my god-like boss, Paramesware Mudaliar. My creator saw to it that I was punished and put on the right path. He was a genius.

Chanduru (From Miss. Janaki): Our creator was too good to create despicable villains. In Miss. Janaki, I was the college bully. I tried to interfere with the love between hero Natarajan and heroine Janaki. I even tried to frame him for theft. But I was not a blackguard, and after I was exposed, went away to the North.

Haran (same novel): You, not a genuine villain! There were no villains like you in Delhi where I worked for several years. But in our South.

Constable Kannayiram (same novel): Devan Aiyya was influenced by P.G.Wodehouse. I was somewhat on the pattern of Constable Dobbs in Wodehouse novels. But a more interesting creation. Dobbs did not have a wife like Anjalai who could cook divine morkali.

Lakshmi (from Justice Jagannathan): "Devan Aiyya namma maanathai vangittar." In the open court, he exposed what I was doing under the "koyya maram" with my boyfriend, Venkateswar. Oh, I was so embarrassed!

Advocate Eswaran (same book): You, embarrassed, tell me something else!

Bhaghirathi Ammal: What is all this about court and cases. I am now moving from "Pootuku pootu vali" to severe backache.

Rajam (from Rajathin Manoradham): Devan mama created so many wonderful characters, each different from the others. In my book, which was all about building a house, the minor characters were simply brilliant and different. I mean, they spoke different kinds of Tamil, behaved differently... such a versatile author!

Inspector Gopalan ( from Thuppariyum Sambu): I think, our president, Mr. Sambu, wants to say something. (Cheers for Sambu).

Sambu: Hee heee, onnum illai... adthaathu vandhuttu I mean. What more can I say? Our creator made a "vadikattina asadu" like me such a popular character. That reflects his genius!

Singapore Singam, Somari Somu, Kedi Kalimuthu (villains from Devan's novels): Sambu saar "abharam". But Devan saar did not paint us all that black. We are not like today's serial killers like that Dr. Hannibal Lecter!

Komali (from Sriman Sudarshanam): Our creator loved children. It was a pity he had no kids of his own. At the end of my novel, how happy was my husband when I told him I was pregnant? And do you remember his "sinna kanan" stories? They reflected his longing for children.

Jayalakshmi: Devan saar worshipped lord Murugan. In every book, there was so much about Murugan. In fact, he made it appear that it was my devotion which resulted in the acquittal of my husband in that Kodambakam murder case.

Finally, after the judgment was delivered we all went to the temples at Vadapazhani and Tirupporur.

Advocate Eswaran: Jayam, you are right. It was god's blessings which helped me win the case for your husband. And the genius of Devan.

Chellam (from Mr. Vedantham): How right was Devan Mama when he made me say that all my problems before I got married to Ammanji would not have arisen, if only I had worshipped at the shrine of the Triplicane Parthasarathy temple.

Miss Janaki: I know I was a modern girl who went to college, but my love for Natarajan succeedeed only because of the blessings of the god of Tiruchendur.

Reporter Singam( from Mr. Vedantham): I cannot think of a more versatile genius. Devan saar wrote so well about my profession in this book. You remember how finally Vedantham joined Kunjalam magazine? And how Devan saar created those cheats, Venkat and Ram, who went around posing as journalists? They were so funny but so real!

Parameshwara Mudaliar( from Sriman Sudarshanam): There is only one way of paying tributes to someone like Devan. Let us all stand up and sing bhajans for Muruga and other favourite gods of Devan.

Sambu: By the way, where is Mr. Devan? He is very much in heaven but did not turn up here.

Justice Jagannathan: I know where he went. The Devan Memorial Trust and the Kalki Trust in Chennai are honouring him at a special function. His spirit must be there. He has a soft corner for the people whom he created so effortlessly.

(All of them stand up and sing Devan's favourite devotional songs.)

V.GANGADHAR

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