In Malayalam, there are many writers whom I really adore. But the one writer- doesn’t know if I can call him that as he is much more than a mere writer, who has really inspired me, is Guru Nityachaitanya Yathi. One of my close friends, an avid book lover as me, recommended his books to me and a skeptical me opened his book “Soundaryam, Anubhavam, Anubhooti” expecting a very spiritual kind of book. It was an experience! After reading it, I came to know how to read a book, how to look at art, at life and at world with an open eye, not to just see it, but to feel, understand and make it an experience as the title of the book suggests. His writing style is so passionate about life and art and so simple that you cannot help feeling a strange attraction towards the subject that he writes about. And talking about subjects, he writes with same passion and in depth about Poetry, fiction, philosophy, psychology, religion, society, people and many other topics. His (incomplete) translation of the autobiography of Neruda is one of the best Malayalam translations that I ever read. You cannot believe that a Sanyasi can translate love, passion and anger felt by the rebel poet and make the reader empathize with him.
“Yathicharya” is his travelogue on one of his visits to Europe and US. This book, I feel can serve as a good introduction if you are interested to read more of his books because essence of his philosophy, his interests and his vision can be seen here. His interactions and discussions with the friends, experts in various fields and totalstrangers constitute most of the narration. You will not find many descriptions about the places that he saw. Only those things that interest him are detailed. But the book is in no way boring as Guru does a good and interesting character sketching of every one whom he has met. A healthy dose of humor surprisingly garnishes otherwise serious proceedings. There are lots of pages devoted to thoughts of death. May be the reason is his failing health and the news of the death of some his near ones.