The superman within a man | Daily News


The superman within a man

In the local literary scene, the name ParakramaKodituwakku is more known as a poet who had been in the engagement for over half a century. He has, to his credit, also contributed several Sinhala newspaper columns, features and brought out several volumes of short stories and a type of narratives that embrace an expression of his own identity. His latest attempt is the narrative titled VesgathKathavak(A Story of a Disguise). This, I found, is one work that could be singled out of the plethora of narrative that is available today in the book market.

This narrativepresents a deep sense of humanism expressed in a style and/or a technique of creative communication that excels the commonplace genres. In the first instance, readability is one of the most sensitive catch points of illumination that spins the narrative. The central experience in the work revolves around a man who loses his wife and only son when he encounters a disastrous accident at an unprotected railway crossing. Without giving descriptive harangues, the narrator enters the inner self of the man who is sensitive possessing a deep-seated vision.

The deep sense of loneliness in the mind of the protagonist is shown mainly due to this creative sensibility over the years. A moment comes when he is sandwiched between the levels of living and death. But he decides to overcome his mental torture by trying to change how social position ina manner he had not undergone so far in his life. This layer of thinking gives way for him to become a completely metamorphosed individual working as a busy butler, caretaker, driver and patient go-between in various standpoints. 

Quite a number of page-moving experiences are embedded where the protagonist undergoes turmoil and upheavals, especially when he is given the chance of being a caretaker of a retired commissioner, his ageing wife and young daughter. His disguised manner itself becomes a self-study for himself that reaches a climax with a vision of life that helps the others to share with him. He faces several ordeals that make him feel that they help him to ponder on the nature of social goodwill as well as evil.

In the day to day living, he observes the manifold mannerisms of the three characters that he is made to serve. He also sees their links with those who visit them from time to time.

The most significant factor is that the narrator in a very skilful manner makes the protagonist formulate an attached detachment metamorphosis that transcends the mere barriers of being disguised in a physical plane of living. At several moments, the reader sees the grave sense of the young daughter of the retired rich commissioner as a dancer, musician, a poet and a sensitive human being who fail to succumb to attach herself of her would-be husband who has laid down taboos for her. There comes a moment that this particular person has panned to torture the good human being who had come to serve the others. But this too is seen as a moment of maturity. As time goes on, the reader comes to know that the narrative conclusion is an unachievable entity.

It is a passage of time that makes the narrative flow. As a reader, I was reminded of the creative ability in Kodituwakku coming closer to those of the creative skills of Andre Gide, Thomas Mann and Franz Kafka. I do not mean to stress that he had been grossly influenced by them. All I want to stress is a focal factor where similarities could inevitably occur in various forms. As a reader, I found that each chapter is an episode of a prophetic vision with a fresh outlook.

They are fused with the plugged moment of truth, in reality, explained in the oriental form as Satyam. Then I felt that he, in several ways, try to evoke the sense of delight and wisdom necessary for living.

The protagonist remains unshaken even in turmoil and disaster, that reaches a climax with the death of the old retired commissioner who led an intimate association with the protagonist. Although the protagonist was known by a pseudonym, he happened to be one of the well-known poets who had given up creative function in order to make a self-effaced identity that paved the way for tangible sustenance from moment to moment in the existential standpoint enmeshed in willpower to live.

For the reader of the narrative, a fresh outlook on the concept of metamorphosis that is generally known is extended to various other areas of thinking. This enables us to make a niche in the narrative that overpowers in the literary scene. The reader is also given the chance of seeing the beauty of poems as written from time to time on the part of the daughter who towards the end of the narrative gets ready to leave the shores of her existence.

Kodituwakku takes the reader into a plane of spiritualism not in the form of a sermonised series of dialogues but the form of several significant situations. The work as a whole is recurrent of an age-old narrative reborn to suit the present social conditions. The beauty of living is underlined as a necessity amidst the gravest trepidations. I am not trying to exaggerate what I deeply felt but it is true to state that the simplest kind of living experiences when well-expressed give way deeper visions that help the living beings live in harmony.

In this direction, the narrative disseminates a message of love and kindness in the deepest sense of the term. The commonplace sentimental weeps and sighs are pruned down to the bottom-most layers. The mindfulness of a person who had faced the gravest disaster is esteemed as a noble living force.

All in all, one may feel that this creative world of Kodituwakku is a mere tale of a person who tries to disguise himself to pass time. But may it be said that the creative vision transcends that superficial layer of narration. But the subtle manner in which a human embraces boldly the forces that destruct him is the key point. The narrative pattern enables the reader to feel that it is beyond the mere experimental level of expression.

A wider and a broader vision of discourse is perhaps necessary for the discussion of this type of emerging creative work. This is a serious moment of such necessities anticipated by the literary lovers the general and the academic. As a point of remembrance, I felt that creativity too takes different alternative dimensions as a result of the social forces that change the living patterns of the humans in a given frame of reference.