“When I cannot write about anything else, I find I can write about books. That should be a good thing.”
I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long while, but as usual, things kept coming in between me and the blog. Not entirely to my disgruntlement, though. I was happy to be away from the computer, head buried in my recently acquired voluminous compilation of Devan’s
Thuppariyum Saambu. (Kizhakku Pathipagam)
Saambu, like Narayan’s Swami, is a favourite from my childhood, dated from the days I began to read Tamil fiction. I caught Sambu first through the boxes of a cartoon serial week after week in a rerun in Ananda Vikatan, where it was also serialized first.
In the genre of a detective novel/thriller, it was not so much the story or its genre, as it was the quaint delivery of Devan that fascinated me. In literary style, it was in the same league as Saavi’s Washingtonil Thirumanam or Baghyam Ramasamy’s Appu Thatha, Seetha Paati.
For those who do not know of Saambu, he is Devan’s find – a bank clerk who never got a single raise or promotion in life – elevated to detective status through sheer serendipity. When fate catapults him in the path of Inspector Gopalan, Saambu becomes famous, a super star in the black and white world where the British still rule India.
With his crooked nose, balding pate, black coat worn with white dhothi, trademark idiocy dripping all over his face. And with luck helping the bungling self-styled detective in the most munificent of ways, his antics had us in splits when we were children. I remember, we could get into uncontrollable fits of giggles, just at the mention of the name Saambu, or the sight of a man on the street with a Saambu-like nose!
Today, I don’t giggle much, but as the image of Saambu rubbing his bald pate forms in my mind as I write this, I’m smiling unconsciously! Since then I’ve been impressed and bowled over with the Western greats – Ms.Marple, Holmes, Poirot – but Saambu remains my favourite! I’m truly fortunate to have made his literary acquaintance!P.S. While writing this post, I was looking for pics of Saambu online and discovered there were none! So here’s my two penny worth for the detective who made me laugh most – images of Saambu online! Larger versions of the same images are available online...
Labels: books, Tamil