Devan was a prodigious writer in Tamil. He wrote short stories, novels, novella, reported on World War II. He was a trend setter just like O Henry and Guy de Maupassant. He is best known for his humorous prose just like P G Wodehouse. Indira Parthasarathy a Tamil Story writer and playwright remarked, “Wodehousian characters like Lord Elmsworth, Bertiee Wooster, Psmith and the innumerable spinster aunts are stylised, one-dimensional and static caricatures… Devan’s characters, on the other hand, evolve gradually, drawing strength from their inner potential and experiences, the best example being is what I would consider as his masterpiece — Mr. Vedantham.”
Devan died young (44 years), but in a short period he produced more than 500 stories and travelogues. He is best known for his detective series, துப்பறியும் சாம்பு – Detective Sambu (Featured Image courtesy Google).
The biggest electoral process in the largest democracy in the world is under way. This light read (three minutes of your time) tells us what we thought about the our politicians even eighty years ago.
Muthu is the only child for his parents and he was pampered. When he was eight, his parents had a desire. “What would Muthu become when he grows up?”
“I have designed a test and when Muthu takes it we would clearly know what he would be when he grows up” said Muthu’s dad.
When Muthu went out to play, his father kept a ten rupee note on the table in his office room. Then he kept a book beside it and a cup of coffee next to it. He called his wife and said, “look! We will hide here and watch. When Muthu come back home he will come here. He would see these three things. If he takes the ten rupee note, we will know that he will become a trader. If he picks up the book, it would mean that he will get into law or medicine or research. If he does not care about the first two and goes straight for the cup of coffee, it will indicate he will do nothing and enjoy his life sitting home eating. We will now see this with our own eyes.
Muthu’s mom agreed to this test.
Both of them hid behind a cupboard and waited for Muthu’s arrival.
About half an hour passed by. Muthu after wandering and playing returned home. When he did not see his parent in the living room, he went to the office room. He went to the table. He first saw the ten rupee note. He lifted it and checked if it was a genuine note. Once he was satisfied that it was indeed real currency he folded the note and pocketed it.
Next he saw the note. He glanced through it and read a para from different pages. He thumbed to the last page of the book and glanced it. He shut the book and kept it in his hand. Then his eyes fell on the coffee. He just drank it in one gulp.
Then he left the room and went outside.
The parents came out from their hiding. There was a big question mark on the mother’s face. She could not understand what his son’s actions actually meant. The father’s face had a ray of worry. It clearly indicated nothing happened as he had expected.
Mother asked him, “do you see anything from his actions?”
The father replied, “Yes I can see. Muthu won’t be anything of the three we expected. But he will become a politician.
******* 1930s? 1940?
Devan was a competent and accomplished writer, who used several interesting and varied techniques in fiction writing. From travelogues to recipes, from detective stories to social dramas, he has written them all.