It’s upto you what you make of your life experiences. But surely, we can learn something from the 53-year-old Coimbatore auto-rickshaw driver M Chandrakumar.
Called by locals as, Auto Chandran, he flew to the Venice Film Festival on September 8 to participate in the screening of a Tamil feature film based on his novel.
His first book ‘Lock Up’, which was published in 2006, inspired director Vetrimaaran to make the movie “Visaranai” on it. Now, the movie has made it to the festival’s competition section. A class 10 dropout, Chandran said to Hindustan Times
that life has been his teacher.
Well versed with the ways of the world, he uses his keen observation and analytical prowess to record his experiences in the form of stories.
Talking about his novel, Chandran said it was his first-hand experience of police brutality and oppression as a young man in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district that influenced his work.
He was arrestedalong with his two friends and allegedly tortured for 13 days before being let off. He says they were picked up for no reason and this spurred him to write in his book how the poor and helpless do not have a voice and protection from police atrocities across the country. Though Chandran is not a famous writer, his friend who had worked with film units gave the novel to the director Vetrimaaran.
After reading the book, the director contacted the author for his permission to make a film based on the book and promised to give him credit.
Later, he also invited Chandran to attend the film screening at Venice.
The director Vetrimaaran said:
“I liked the earnestness and honesty with which Chandran documented his suffering in Andhra Pradesh at the hands of police. This is the only work of his that I have read and would take a look at his other novels (including ‘Boomiyai Kolaikalamaakkum America’, ‘Kovayil Jeeva’ and ‘Eriyum Pattatharasi’) later. For now, we are focused on Venice and I am happy the novelist is also accompanying me to the festival.”
So, how does he take out time to write a book?
First thing, Chandran is very disciplined and focus. He starts his day with an early morning walk and yoga. Then from morning till 9 pm, he drives auto-rickshaw. That is followed by discussions with local workers and union leaders. After that, he has his dinner, studies, and writes before getting a few hours sleep. A local resident Su Panaiswamy said:
“It is such a big thing; despite being just an auto-rickshaw driver, Chandran learnt to study life in all its facets and achieve an ability to present it in lucid writing for all to understand.”
There is no age to study or write.