Kagal Five years later he visited Finland, Czechoslovakia and Russia. Narendranath Sumangala Shebaly Sippy Pallippuram. He died on 6 August Sukumaran Sethu K. Teacher, novelist, travelogue writer, member of indian boiks. Please help sk pottekkatt books improve this article by introducing more precise citations.

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It had a unique atmosphere marked by a strange colour and odour. Sound even. The stink from the cremation ground towards the west wafted in with the wind along with the stench of coconut husks being retted nearby. From where I sat I could hear the rhythmic thrashing of the pulp with wooden mallets like drumbeats. Sometimes after work I would put out the lamp and sit by the window facing the canal and eavesdrop on the conversations of those passing by.

Giggly gossip of maidens returning from the market, song of the soaks and sometimes even shrill screams of the fox… Translated from a diary entry dated January 1, ; an exhibit at the SK Pottekkatt Cultural Centre , Kozhikode.

SK Pottekkatt It was during an extended stay in Kerala last monsoon that I discovered SK Pottekkatt, prolific writer — author of around 60 books — and compulsive traveller — 18 of which are travelogues. I read Kappirikalude Naattil In the land of the Negroes and London Notebook, breezy reads both, over a weekend while palm, coconut and rubber trees slanted and swayed in unison under a harsh downpour.

Lightning drew a shimmery blanket over the glistening tree tops and thunder broke like seismic trance in the horizon. His fascination with the fellow traveller, man on the street and host for the night, besides depicting the cultural and ethnic diversities in the most engaging manner also portrayed the personal anecdotes vividly.

Like the young con artist in London, who made his acquaintance pretending to be a student and tried to sweet talk him into parting with charitable dosh.

Quite charmingly, a characteristic empathy precludes judgments and generalisations except probably when commenting on the fates of suppressed peoples — which are again mostly an indictment of colonialising powers.

One morning while watering the mango saplings he coughed, once. A wracking cough. He coughed again and then again. And then there was no respite. Clutching his chest he fell down. Soon he was dead. Just like that. Father had left his temporal abode, gone forever. Nobody will see a fair man with a proud bearing, sandalwood paste smeared across his forehead, wearing a hat, coat and spectacles and umbrella in hand emerge from our house again. What remained of him was his legacy of honesty and trust.

Pottekkatt outside Chandrakantham Some evenings I would go to the beach. I would then try to sneak in unnoticed by my father who would be reading on the easy chair on the veranda. His spectacle glasses would twinkle reflecting the light from the table lamp. He would glance once — a glance full of rebuke and a stern warning. After his death, his property was divided among all the relatives.

It broke my heart to leave the house where I could still feel his presence. Leave behind his mango saplings and his fruit garden, and the path which he trod among them. I looked again at the possessions he had left me in a cotton sling bag: his glasses — which have witnessed only goodness and truth in everyone and everything, a bird feather gifted by Hashim Munshi, a notebook containing love poems written by someone who loved him many years ago and another notebook with his own poetry.

I hung this bag around my shoulders and took the hand of my grieving mother and walked out of our own house, forever. After settling down my mother in another house, I began my travels — first to Bombay.

And then to the rest of the world. Translated from another exhibited entry displayed at the museum. Early travels Chandrakantham today For most travellers there is that one defining journey which sows the seeds of wanderlust — a journey from which you never return completely.

For the politically active Pottekkatt it was a trip to Tripura to attend a meeting of the Indian National Congress, to attend which he even resigned from his job as a school teacher. He was to follow this up with an all India tour in A year later he was forced to leave for Bombay to escape arrest because of his underground activities supporting the Quit India Movement. In Bombay he worked as a clerk with the textile department but resigned again two years later to travel — this time to Delhi, Kashmir and other parts of India.

He returned to Calicut in where he took up residence in Chandrakantham, which, to my wonder stood intact still picture. He got married in and took off again to cover Asia, this time with wife in tow. Like Salopek he too wanted to begin from where it all started. He hurled himself with a boundless brio headlong into parlous situations to be with the hoi polloi — he rode on the back of mules and donkeys and travelled on open decks over high seas.

He did not hem himself in by comfort even though he could afford it. Bruce Chatwin The burghers everywhere he gave a wide berth. To get real insights into the land you had to interact with the commoner for which he walked.

In Bali Dweep Bali Island he says that he never baulked from walking up to 10 miles every day — to get a good look at the villages and lives of the people. The essence of slow travel is not just seeing but experience the land, people and their culture. His landscape illustrations were neither sesquipedalian nor frilly but he said it like he saw it. It also gave me the opportunity to check out the much-touted air-conditioned low-floor buses which marked the newly set up state transport body KURTC — whose arrival on the scene like the dapper scented Gulf returnee relegated the age-old KSRTC to the grumpy fringes like a straitjacket relative of strained circumstances.

All the comforts one expected from the new technology were extinguished by the sharply coiling edges of the seats of hard plastic which ensured not more three minutes of comfortable sitting if you possessed a posterior slightly bigger than a six year old.

Sleeping was ruled out like bail for Kiku Sharda after his re-arrest. The next morning as we rolled into the bus terminal at Kozhikode Calicut I was lolling in the aisle, backpack as my pillow while the rest of the passengers sat painfully straight, sleep-deprived, staring at me with red-eyed jealousy.

Expenses exhibit Puthiyara, not many years ago, was a sparsely populated hillock, verdant, with narrow paths radiating in all directions. These narrow paths today are narrow roads with vehicles hurtling up and down, apartments and bungalows on one side and small, decaying businesses on the other. At the topmost point was a water tank which has been converted to the Pottekkatt museum — the adaptability the obsessive traveller would have surely approved.

There were newspaper cuttings which served as inspiration for his short stories and the expense sheets during his travels — money spent on laundry and stamp and cigarettes had all been entered meticulously.

He had a very proud mother, I am sure. Biographical museums are usually housed where the person lived. And Chandrakantham where Pottekkatt lived from till his death in is just a short walk away from the museum.

I went there where I met a tenant family who was happier the rent was lower than market as the house was dilapidated.

I really hope one day the museum will be shifted from the erstwhile water tank to a refurbished Chandrakantham. Pottekkatt who? He was a literary great moving in the circles of the other greats of his time. Ebullient and witty, he was loved by his peers. The frequent visits of Vaikom Mohammed Basheer to Chandrakantham were raucous as well as stimulating. He even dabbled in politics making it as a member of parliament once. Overlooking Sweet Meat Street But the genius of Pottekkatt as a travel writer whom many consider a lodestar of the genre continues to be neglected.

This is when he broke new frontiers as a travel writer and enlightened us with accounts of primitive traditions from the Dark Continent where brides are won with enemy heads, regaled us with comparisons drawn between Sikh jokes and those contumely ones made on the native African by Indian settlers.

Of the many reasons accorded for this I found most unsettling the regionality in his narrative. Like maybe the analogy made between the African tribal dressed in white silk clothes to Palani and Sabarimala pilgrims.

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Biography[ edit ] A bust of S. Pottekkatt facing S. Street in Kozhikode Calicut. In , he joined Calicut Gujarati School as a teacher where he taught for almost three years. Subsequently, he moved to Bombay and Lucknow where he stayed until , doing many jobs. In , he again went overseas to visit Ceylon , Malaya , and Indonesia.


SK Pottekkatt: Trailblazer travel writer

He is the author of nearly sixty books which include ten novels, twenty-four collections of short stories, three anthologies of poems, eighteen travelogues , four plays, a collection of essays and a couple of books based on personal reminiscences. Biography S. Pottekkatt was born in Kozhikode as the son of Kunchiraman Pottekkatt, an English schoolteacher. He did not find an employment for three years following his graduation and devoted his time to the study of Indian and Western classics. From to , he worked as a teacher at Calicut Gujarati School. He quit the job to attend the Tripura Congress in He then went to Bombay now Mumbai and took up several jobs only to develop an aversion for any white-collared jobs.

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S. K. Pottekkatt



Books by S.K. Pottekkatt


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