15 Years of Karka Nirka

The story goes back to 2007 summer. I was a student in USA, first time away from parents, closer to end of first year in USA. Disasters struck every day at my student job, in my coursework, with my friends, with my personal life, with my family. There was no respite. Every day morning you just don’t know how you are going to pass that day. All I can say, it is a miracle that I survived till date. There were few things that saved me, two friends, movies, book and finally Karka Nirka.

To escape reality, I used to watch 3-4 movies in a day. To while away time away from computer, I started reading books, first Ponniyin Selvan, then I discovered Kamil Zvelebil. Eventually a love for Tamil and Sangam literature. I started Karka Nirka 15 years ago as a 23 year old while I was doing my masters.

How did movies and books save me? A year back I got a parking ticket for $30. I was very upset, and felt like that was fortune. I filed an appeal, due to long queue after 8 months, the case came back saying I had to pay $30. This time $30 didn’t feel like anything, I just payed it and left it. Similarly, in heat of the moment, even the smallest of problems would seem like the world is going to crash. Let the time pass, same problem will look minuscule as there would be other problems to deal with. Movies, books and blog helped me escape reality and let time pass. Most of the issues got sorted by itself, few failed but end of it, I survived with wounds and with time wounds heal. That was better deal than not surviving.

During this phase, the biggest problem was that I couldn’t discuss any of my issues with anyone as I had issues literally with everyone. Most people in these situation take drastic decisions. But there are few who survive. Do you know why? I figured this out only recently. I was reading Marathon, trying to complete 100 books in 100 days, mostly graphic novels (comic but are serious/non fiction). Most of these books were about people who were abused as kids, people who are LGBT, people who are infertile trying to have babies, people who have kids autistic or other severe conditions, people who have survived war. All these people have extremely traumatic life. Most of the issues they have cannot be discussed with others. What made them survive and tell their story? Art.

I have heard a story of person deciding to commit suicide and sitting in a tea stall, absent mindlessly hearing Illayaraja song on a radio and return back to life. People who are outliers express themselves through art and take their solace through art. Art helps heal people. Art gives people confidence. Art helps people live.

Art in my case was Tamil literature and movies. Please learn art and let your kids learn art of some kind. It will help avoid depression and mental health issues.

15 years of blogging, though have to agree that I have not been active all 15 years, is a long time. It was easier to post when I was young and a bachelor. With every year, life added more responsibilities. Though I didnt actively write blogs, I read a lot of books, papers on Tamil history and literature. I was posting my observations in Facebook.

I would like to thank many people who helped me in the Journey. Few names on top of my min, Mr. Vijaya Kumar (Author Idol thief), Ponniyin Selvan varalatru peravai Yahoo group, Dr.Francis Muthu, Mr.Mani Manivannan, Dr.Sridhar Rathnam, Mr.Mahendran Arun Raja, Prof. Dhanalakshmi Giri, Mr. Caliyugan Suriyakala Pathmanathan, admins of தமிழ் வளர்ப்போம், Prof. N.Kannan and many others for enouraging me and supporting me in this journey. My guru vanakkam to late Dr.Kamil Zvelebil.

But this day is day I need to thank my family, who have provided the time for me to play out all my eccentricities of collecting, read and writing by sacrificing their time and actively sitting with me to help on my blog. Without their support the 100 day marathon I am running now is impossible.

To top it all they had surprise 15th anniversary celebration today.

I hope to continue for a long time. Thank you to all my readers.