Tamil Photos

Book Launch Of Palani G Periyasamy’s ‘Idhaya Oli’ (Heartbeats) Was Nothing To Skip A Heartbeat Over

Report by Priya Saravana Photos by Dani Charles

Book launches are usually tedious affairs – unless the book has an interesting theme and the people at the event present it cleverly. But when the repetitive anecdotes and practiced felicitations start, you know it’s not going to be an exception.

The launch of Palani G Periasamy’s Idhaya Oli  (Heartbeats) at Le Meridian, Chennai, on 6 August, was nothing to skip a heartbeat over. Even though there was a beautiful dance performance, and divine music by musical prodigy Uthara Unnikrishnanand as a prelude, the actual event in itself was a drawn out affair of white-clad men garlanding and covering each other in ponnadai (the shiny cloth used for felicitations) and making long, boring speeches.

Palani G Periasamy is an Indian industrialist and educationalist. His book, Idhaya Oli is an autobiographical work that traces his journey from humble beginnings in Muthugapatti, a remote village in Namakkkal, to Chennai, to The US and then back to Chennai. The book also explores the close relationship he shared with the late Chief Minister M G Ramachandhran (MGR).

N Ram, the Chairman of Kasturi & Sons Limited and Publisher of The Hindu, lyricist/poet, Vairamuthu, yesteryear actress Saroja Devi, and director Thangar Bachan, were among the legion of prominent people on the stage. They all agreed that the book is inspiring enough to be made a mandatory text for schools and colleges. Director Thangar Bachan even went on to say that he would not hesitate to resort to mild flogging to ensure that his children read the book!

Vairamuthu, said, ” The book can be divided into two parts: the part which gives an insight into Periasamy’s life and the other significant part, gives an insight into the life of MGR”. N Ram, was suitably impressed with the book and said that it was indeed remarkable to be able to recall in great detail what happened several decades ago.

The ‘man of the evening’, Palani G Periasamy was the last to take the stage and failed to do justice to the crescendo built over an inordinate period of time of four hours. He thanked everyone and exited the stage quickly, citing lack of time. The man who stole his thunder on his big day, was MGR! If you didn’t know any better, you would have been easily convinced the book was his biography. So much was said about the actor-turned-politician, that the author faded into the background.
People were visibly sighing in relief when the evening finally came to an end.  As the crowd started to disperse, I trotted towards the exit. I was welcomed with a very disconcerting sight of an odd-looking Palani G Periyasamy, beaming at me. Smiling back in reflex, it took me a moment to realise that it was only a hotel attendant wearing his face mask. I looked around and saw the hall filled with his beaming face everywhere. All the attendants on duty were wearing identical face masks of the author.
Leaving the hall, I smiled as I said to myself, “Let’s not judge the book by its launch”.