Dila Devi, a Nepali woman, was the new neighbour of Reethamma, who knew no other language than Malayalam. However, in no time, the two bonded over sign language and when a nostalgic Dila used to narrate tales from her homeland, Reethamma used to listen, picking up bits and feeling the emotions. Dila used to climb the mango trees and the black plum trees on the premises to pluck the fruits and share among her people, even when she was heavily-pregnant, amidst wide-eyed onlookers holding their breath. Reethamma and Dila are the characters of Raigan George’s book Othiripperile Ichiripperukal.
“Reethamma is my mom and Dila, our neighbor,” says the author. The name Raigan might not ring a bell, but RJ Bala probably would. The former radio jockey and VJ, who has quite a huge fan following even when he is on a sabbatical from the entertainment industry, is back in action in a new avatar – writer. His debut book – an autobiographical scribbling about 21 women in his life – has hit online stores to positive reviews.
Born and brought up in Kochi, the banker-turned-TV/radio host has penned the humorous memoirs in Kochi dialect. “A person whose whole life has been about conversation after conversation, I couldn’t think of writing in the so-called polished language,” he confesses. But the style has touched a chord with readers, who claim to have felt like having a great conversation with Bala and all those women, after reading the book.
Writing, he says, began as posts on social media about interesting anecdotes. “I used to write about my mom, sister, and the people I meet. The responses and shares were amazing and many asked me to bring out a book,” recalls Bala. That he was writing about the women in his life piqued people’s curiosity, but when it came out, there were no romantic encounters, but funny takes on daily incidents, some of which would make the readers’ sides split with laughter.
“The characters were my mother, sister, aunts, colleagues and friends. They all feel like superstars after people come and meet them,” laughs Bala, who feels it was most lucky that he got playback singer Sujatha Mohan to pen the preface. “She was very nervous about it but after reading my book, she became confident and poured out her heart into it. That too reads like she is talking to us,” says a happy Bala, who invited all the women he wrote about to the book launch.
A banker in Abu Dhabi for the past two years, Bala’s passion still lies in RJing. So, will there be a second volume to the book of women? Laughing, he says, “I would love to. Now, his focus is on bringing out an e-book. Nothing has been decided about the future; I will embrace whatever comes my way,” he concludes.