Thakkijja, Ente Jail Jeevitham (Thakijja, My Life in Jail), a real life autobiographical novel, authored by Jayachandran Mokeri had been chosen by the Kerala Sahitya Akademi for the Best Autobiography.
Jayachandran Mokeri, a teacher by profession, hailing from the town of Mokeri in Kozhikode, who lived in the Maldives for almost nine years serving in a school as teacher, was apparently been jailed on a false case. What transpired during that eight and half months that he had to spent in the notorious prisons of the Maldives under the brutal police administration was the gist of the story that unravels in the book. He had to face both physical and mental trauma the time he had spent in the jails of our neighbouring country, Maldives, which is known for human rights violation. When Mokeri’s incarceration made rounds on the social media platforms such as Facebook, somehow, with the help of good Samaritans, the news reached the highest office of the country and thanks to the intervention by the Union External Affairs Ministry, in 2014, after spending eight and a half months in various prisons of Maldives, Jayachandran Mokeri was released from the jail and flown back to India. At least few of us will recall the image of the haggard looking Jayachandran Mokeri, while he landed the airport in Kerala, with long beard, hugging his wife and daughter, which was really painful.
Another jolt in his life was that only when he set food on Indian soil, did he know about his brother’s demise, as the jail authorities never allowed Jayachandran Mokeri to stay in touch with anyone outside the confines of the four walls in that notorious prison. The author was allowed only to make a couple of calls to his spouse Jyothy and towards the end of his incarceration, even that too stopped. Thus, by the time he came back to India, Jayachandran Mokeri came to know that his brother had passed way six months back. Initially, Jayachandran Mokeri was too numbed to even think about the ordeal he had to face. Over a period of time, he regained his composure, sat down and chronicled his saga of intrigue in the form of this book, Thakkijja, Ente Jail Jeevitham. The primary reason as to why he chose to write this book was not because he had to inform the society about his case alone, rather, there were umpteen number of people languishing in various prisons of Maldives, Jayachandran Mokeri told The Indian.News Editor, Jayashankar Menon, who is also translating the novel from Malayalam to Tamil. The first person encounter of the whole saga was chronicled by Jayachandran Mokeri in a touching and poignant way. The book starts off with each and every activity inside the prison, as to how he was asked to sit on the corner of the prison cell as if he had committed a grave crime. He was arrested on some frivolous charges. On the third chapter, Jayachandran Mokeri begins the saga of ordeal that happened on April 3, 2014. The last four years of his teaching career was in Faafu Atoll School, where the rules were very bizarre, to say the least. The teachers were not allowed to reprimand the children. Jayachandran Mokeri was leading a copy book lifestyle, by strictly adhering to the service rules laid by the schools except that cursed day, when a brat was running around the class making a big fuss at the fifth grade class, where he went to take class. When Jayachandran Mokeri’s repeated plea to the boy to stop making noise made no sense, he was irritated and gave a whack and asked him to sit. That was the trigger point, which his life would take a u-turn, that Jayachandran Mokeri did not have in the faintest of his imagination. The resultant commotions changed his life completely. On April 4, 2014 the said child’s parents preferred a complaint against Jayachandran Mokeri, not pressing the charge of beating the child, but an attempt to sexually abuse the child. That was the last straw. Unable to defend himself, Jayachandran Mokeri was shunted from one prison to the other for almost nine months, even after the parents had withdrawn the charges they made earlier.
Recollecting how he made notes when he was in jail. “When I was in prison, I used to get medicines in paper covers. When one day a cop accidentally left his pen behind the prison cell, I hid the pen and slowly started making small notes. Many of the inmates in jails had lot of goodness in them. They encouraged me to write a petition to the Judge in English demanding to hold trials. In addition to that once in two months, Jayachandran was allowed to speak to his spouse and he used to tell her a couple of quick points and asking her to jot it down.”
During his happy days in the Maldives, Jayachandran Mokeri had in fact started off another novel, Kadal Neeru writing about the life and culture of the largest chain of islands. By the time he finished seven chapters of the book, Jayachandran Mokeri was arrested by the Maldives police. After coming back from Maldives, his friends helped him to compile the inputs from the small notes from those small pieces of papers, which he had preserved till date.
A well deserved novel, written in his own mother tongue of Malayalam, which he is so passionate about, although, his vocation of his choosing was and is English.
Currently, he works three days a week as a teacher in a college located at Thiroor in Malappuram District. His passion for Malayalam has finally paid rich dividends as Jayachandran Mokeri had bagged Kerala Sahithya Akademi Award for his autobiographical novel, Thakkijja, Ente Jail Jeevitham, published by Violet Books, which he and his friends had launched. Earlier, his novel also won the Thatwamasi Award instituted in the memory of the late Dr. Sukumar Azheekode. recently. In a way, this award is the poetic justice extended to Jayachandran Mokeri by time for his untold misery he had faced during those cursed nine months in the shady prisons of the Maldives. The Indian News wishes the author the very best in his future endeavours and wishes him a peaceful life.