One man, who occasionally writes, thinks how he can bring books to the wedding of his son. It could be the gift that they give people who attend the wedding when they come to the stage to meet the newlyweds. It could be a token sent along with the wedding invitation to people. It’s now become both, a gift and an invitation. But, Ashraf Pangatayil has gone one step further and got his son’s wedding invitation designed on the cover of a popular book among Malayalis – Basheer’s Ntuppuppakkoranendarnnu (My grandfather had an elephant).
“Basheer is a favourite for most readers, and readers of all age groups. I first thought of Pathummante Aadu (another Basheer novel) but my friend and poet Rafeeq Ahamed (who has penned many poetic lyrics for Malayalam movie songs) suggested that it should be Ntuppuppakkoranendarnnu. It is more relevant to the times, he said. The book is about breaking conventions, breaking the barriers of education,” says Ashraf.
Ashraf spent 35 years in the UAE working in a bank, before returning to Thrissur to his home and family. And now, his son Abdullah, is going to get married. “He too is working in a bank in the UAE. Abitha – our daughter-in-law-to-be – is a final year college student in Thrissur,” Ashraf says. Both of them are excited by the idea.
The invitation goes out in their names – Abdullah’s and Abitha’s. DC Books has designed the cover of Basheer’s book like a page half turned, the top of it bearing the title Ntuppuppakkoranendarnnu and the bottom, the invitation in English. The back cover has the Malayalam invitation, with a photo of the bride and groom to be. At the top of the back cover is the much-known face of Basheer and a short writeup about the book. “In this way, no one would ever lose the card. People would throw cards away but not books,” Ashraf says, cheerfully.
The love for literature is obvious in his words. Ashraf has written a short story collection called Ground Zero and a weekly column called Manal Gadikaram(sand clock) for a magazine.