"It is futile to separate imagination and truth."

A conversation with Perumal Murugan

To cite one instance, I grew up looking at relationships that had fallen apart and of people who never exchanged a word with each other.When I was a young boy, I did not have the company of boys of my age. Hence, I spent most of my time playing with girls who were the same age as me. Hence people nicknamed me pombalasatti. I could never understand the meaning of that term. But I sensed it was something derogatory. I reacted strongly to such name calling. It is highly likely that I discovered the power of language from that usage.

My imagination has been an obstacle. I wrote the novel Nizhal Mutram. It is a story of boys who work in a cinema hall. Twenty years after that, I wrote a collection of essays for a magazine on my memories of my cinema theatre days. It was then I realized how limiting one’s imagination can be and the many opportunities present to expand one’s perspectives. I am now trying to rectify those drawbacks.

I have nothing to say to that young boy. I have several things to ask him. I like to ask him, 'Can you pinch some of your inexhaustible enthusiasm and give some to me?'

Even right now, I am a good writer! I don’t have a desire to give up anything to become a good writer!

Just because I am an Indian writer, I don’t feel compelled to write about certain subjects. And I don’t have the desire to do so. I write what I feel compelled to write about; and I will continue to do so. It is futile to separate imagination and truth. There is no use in such an undertaking. In my opinion, there is no such thing as the truth. Everything is imagination. We live in an imaginary world. If you analyse life, everything is a manifestation of imagination!

In Poonachi, I wished to write in greater detail about physical relationships. However, I restrained myself and glossed over that aspect.

In Poonachi, the scene where Poonachi enters the mountain forest and spends a night there was the most difficult and challenging for me.

In this novel, there are certain secrets that are known only to my mother and me. My mother is now no more. Hence, I am now the keeper of those secrets.