V P Manoharan has left us. Who was Manoharan to us, gramers? He was indeed a good friend with a substantial potential for storytelling. In the eighties when he along with Sathish Babu, Payyanur started a difficult carrier at literature, almost everyone was sure that he is destined to be the number one in storytelling and will rise above the confines of gramam. He did excellent job writing some 100 plus stories and some screen plays. He has to his credit five collected volumes. He has penned enough literature to be equated with the established writers of our times. But Manoharan remained anonymous as a writer even among his friends. He was reluctant to discuss his stories even with friends. He used to frequent kovval very often in the past. He used to take part in the unending discussions on evenings. He was an introvert and never took pains to acquaint with strangers. After he got promotion as an Officer his creative spirit was on the decline but still exceptionally good stories appeared occasionally. His stories appeared in kalakoumudi, Deshabhimani, kadha and almost all magazines of repute. But Manoharan was reluctant to project himself as a literary figure. He always withdrew from the lime light. As an officer of Sales tax, he preferred to be posted in Kasaragod as some of his limited friends in the literary world were in Kasaragod. As time passed, he seldom visited Kovval and he got a good audience at Sarga Film Society. He was not attached to film world much but he was accepted in their circle instantly.
Manoharam, it appears, lacked confidence as a story teller. He longed popularity as any ordinary man but lacked the tactics needed. Thus when time passed his contemporaries gained popularity and he thought he was losing his ground and altogether stopped writing. For the past few years he did not write a single story and he disliked to discuss the matter. His friends have been expecting a glorious return when all of a sudden he was hospitalized. Still no one thought he will retire so soon. When finally the news of his death came everyone was shocked. It is mere destiny that he is destined to become popular posthumously. The distress of his wife and two sons is beyond words. May they have enough strength to pass through these turbulent times?
Bicycle thieves is the name of one of his collected works. Bicycle thieves is an all time classic by De Sica. It dwells deep into the social psyche following post world war financial crackdown which turns an innocent man into a thief. Manoharan’s Bicycle thieves run on quite different lines. Here, in a town, named K, the bicycle of a rich man is being stolen. Efforts to find out the lost cycle by the Police (on the insistence of the Home Minister who is a close associate of the rich man) proves futile. The local sub inspector takes into custody all the 250 bicycle in the town and arrange an inspection parade. The rich man checked all but he could not find his beloved one. He had an emotional attachment with his favorite cycle as it has taken him through life. Initially he was a newspaper boy, then milkman and then an errand boy –his bicycle was his companion to richness. Now he is a business magnet of the state who possesses several business establishments run by his sons and in laws. Now as all efforts to trace the lost cycle proved futile the rich man became depressed. He lost all interest in life and was bed ridden and the lost cycle became a real issue. Where is the cycle gone? Now one of his sons during a soliloquy reveals the secret. There are many expensive vehicle lying idle in the garage. But their father is putting shame on them by travelling in an old bicycle. Hence they dispatched the cycle in a lorry to wayanad and the driver has thrown the archaic vehicle into a deep crevice. The story ends here. But the depiction of a generation which does not appreciate the past is a contemporary reality. It is exposed in its vivid and shocking manner.
What does our ancestors will contain? In Osyath, Manoharan shock us by reveling the osyath of a father who shares his major ailments to his offspring. prarthananirahtam, marakayudham, rogikal –all are good stories depicting real life incidents portrayed in a natural style.
Manoharan has gone. But people will continue to read his stories.