the new indian express
wednesday june 18, 2003
Writing is a lonely job and a poet is the loneliest of all these people, said Shreekumar Varma, playwright and novelist, at a literary session organised by Samskrithi Academy on June 15 held at Asan Memorial School, Egmore.
   "For a novel you get a little more feedback than a poem," said Varma, referring to some not-so-complimentary remarks that people make after reading a novel. "But the greatest thrill of all is to watch your play---once it has been converted into a watchable, seeable version. you see the lives and conflicts of your characters come to life under the arc lights," he said.
   Samskriti regularly conducts art and culture appreciation and promotional programmes under the aegis of Saradhi.
   Only a few art works are influenced by another person, said Varma. "When an artist paints a picture, nobody says you could have added a little more blue here, a writer wouldn't accept it if someone said remove this much and add this much in his book. But a play is where someone else works on your own work," he said.
   And the perspectives may change because of the directors involved, he said. "Theatre, I think, is about different perceptions and perspectives," he said. He traced how the interpretation of the story of Nandanar had changed over centuries.
  "Nandanar is a story of a person of a lower caste aspiring to see god," he said. But he wasn't allowed inside a temple because of his caste. The story goes that Nandanar went to Chidambaram to "purify himself" and jumped into the fire---and came out wearing a sacred thread.
   But novelist Indira Parthsarathy's version of the play is steeped in cynicism, said Varma. It was a criticism against "brahmindom", he said.
   "The play is about a man who aspires to be a part of society and to see god and is burnt, and you live and die along with this man and see his aspirations destroyed. There's no hope at the end of it," he added.
   Varma said there were three kinds of art forms: first, where an artist makes a statement that reflects his attitude and his idiosyncracies. Second, that which gives a message.    
   and third is art for art's sake---it's just something which is there as pure art. The evening ended with a play "Wood" written by Gautam Raja, directed by Krishna Kumar.



What do the Beatles, Steven Spielberg and J.K.Rowling (of Harry Potter fame) have in common, apart from being rich and famous? Creativity! Yes, of course, each of these people captured the imagination (and hearts) of millions of music-lovers, movie fans and readers respectively. What does it take to be a genius? Does every individual have the potential to be creative? To discuss these nerve-wracking questions and to hear first-hand the trials and tribulations of being creative, we had writer, poet, and journalist Shreekumar Varma address our club last Saturday.

Shreekumar had realized, early in life, that in order to be creative, one had to live creatively! Simple, as that may sound, it entailed that one takes a creative path to solving the problems that we might encounter in day to day living. For instance, he shared with us, his experience of being an entrepreneur, an endeavour that did not take off from the word go. After considerable soul-searching, he discovered that he was on the wrong track, not consistent with his core. At this point, he decided he was going to write. The shift from business to writing was demanding on his talent and left him lonely in its pursuit.

The creative spirit in each of us had to be cultivated, according to Shreekumar. It required discipline, patience and commitment. Tapping the potential for creativity involved thinking out of the box, to be willing to explore the unknown. This path could be very uncomfortable, he said. However, if pursued with single-minded dedication, you could have the world at your feet!

Rtn. S.S.Sunder e-chakra, bulletin, rotary club of chennai mid city

addressing the rotary club of chennai mid city
at the Samskriti event
Reflecting Society