The three plays, introduced with a skilled and analytically detailed discussion, rise above parochialisms of time, space, culture and language. They resonate with universal themes and emotions like love, duty, guilt and the sheer tedium of existence that saps one’s soul of vibrancy and one’s life of joy. The people who populate these plays are you and me and our neighbours—trying to live our lives the best we can with all the limitations that our circumstances and our own natures force upon us.
The childless, elderly couple in Comforting Illusions go through the same motions of living day after weary day, the wife knitting or inscribing Sree Rama Jeyam ad infinitum in a notebook. So much so that she remarks, if she were to be asked her age, she might as well reply with the number of notebooks that she has exhausted writing this mantra—a comment made in a beautifully and wittily irreverent manner which yet fails to mask the tinge of pathos that underlies it. They live—nay merely exist—and the reader is sucked into this vortex of being and not being, of knowing and not knowing, of reality and illusion/delusion as the Godot-like figures continue to move in the rhythm of the inevitability, the finality and monotony of everyday life.
In his employment of the mode of the Absurd in this play, the writer brilliantly adapts it to convey the trope of the loss of meaning through the quintessentially Indian social unit—the family and conjugal relationships. The introduction of the puppy and the magical realism that the consequent scenes are imbued with, in all their ridiculousness and uncertain fantastic-real elements in tandem with Indian, Hindu and Tamil mystical traditions and cultural references, lifts the play from being a mere attempt to follow the Beckettian mode into one which stands solidly as a unique work on its own.