Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ivan the Fool and Me !

When I was a boy studying in Class-5 , for the first time ever we had a supplementary text book for Malayalam language study. It was an abridged translation of Leo Tolstoy's classical short story, titled ' Ivan the Fool' . As a boy I was a voracious reader of books in my mother tongue Malayalam. So this supplementary text book was read on the day it was purchased- well before the school opened.

I liked the story very much at that time. I was impressed by Ivan the fool and the manner in which he defeated the devil. More than that as a little boy I liked the morale of the story- of giving importance to working hard with your own hands on the farms rather than making gold and money by deceitful ways.

The details of the story became a forgotten thing over the years. But somehow while thinking about the manner in which the world and my country are moving where easy money making is the primary goal of all, I remembered about this story. I wanted to read it once again.

I was fortunate to google it out and read it full online once again in English.

[If you are interested just try this link to read the story online here: Ivan-the-Fool by Leo Tolstoy ]

The story is compelling for an introspection into my own life. In my childhood days, I had opportunity to get associated in actual farm works in our piece of land in our village. We had cows, goats, rabbits, poultry and honey bees in the many beehives placed here and there. There were plenty of fruits and variety of food stuffs which we used to grow ourselves.

But my parents thought that there is life much more pleasurable out there which could be enjoyed without working with own hands. Brain work was more lucrative. For brain work you have to learn and learn many things. Study hard - that was the advice from the elders at that time.

That I did. Studied and studied. Became an engineer. Got employed in the largest organisation employing engineers. And for all these years I was getting paid for brain work. My hands do not have the hard knots of the peasants.

But am I happy ? I do not know.

Yet I feel Ivan the fool was right. I strongly feel to go back to the farms and work to tender the green plants and the pets. The sweating there is better than the air conditioners. At least that is my thinking now. The sum total of experience gained over decades !

Sorry Ivan, I could not learn fully from your story in the beginning itself !


  1. Was the title" ivante katha allengil ellavarudeyum katha"?

  2. Thank u very much for reminding me of the book. I was also searching for Ivan and I did not remember that it was the work of tolstoy. Finally when I made a search I got ur blog and was really astonished to see that I also share the same feelings. I now distictly remember tarus and simon etc and the story which we studied in the vth std. Do u have a copy of that book? Is it available in the market? who translated it?
    sivadas chettoor BCOM FCA LL.M
    chartered accountant


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