In a Kerala prison, a poet, writer is born

Kozhikode (Kerala), Aug 16 (IANS) Prisons may not be providing the ideal setting for the making of a poet-cum-writer but a middle-aged woman lodged in a Kerala prison on charges of drugs pedalling is penning her thoughts to good use.

The story of Lissy, 40, including the tragedies of her life and her new love for writing, is coming out in the form of a book in Malayalam called – “Kuttavaliyil ninnu Ezhuthukariyileykku” (From Convict to Writer).

Lissy has, so far, written 14 poems and eight stories. All of these will be featured in the book.

Written by journalist-turned PR professional Subin Mananthavady, the book is the life story and travails of Lissy who is now lodged in Kerala’s Kannur prison, undergoing a 25-year term for being a drugs carrier.

Lissy’s “new journey” in life started in 2011 when she was arrested by the police in Kochi for carrying a packet containing drugs.

She claims that she was carrying the drugs packet without knowing the contents inside and just to earn some money to get her ailing sister, who suffered burn injuries, treated.

Hailing from Kerala’s hilly district of Wayanad, Lissy had to drop out of school despite being a bright student after her father died in 1988. Her marriage to a friend also ended in tragedy when her husband died and she was forced to return to Wayanad.

“Around two years back, while I was doing a feature on ‘Changing face of Prisons’ for a vernacular magazine, I had a chance meeting with Lissy which sparked the idea of writing a book on her,” Mananthavady told IANS.

With help extended by the Kerala home department, Mananthavady had several meetings with Lissy in the prison. The book on her life story took 18 months to complete.

“There were two cases against her and in 2011 she was sentenced for 25 years in these cases. In my first meeting with her, she handed me a piece she had written and I was amazed with her language. I saw a writer in her. Every time I met her, I encouraged her to write. The jail staff too was helpful and gave her the motivation to continue her writings,” Mananthavady said.

“Her wish is that her book, when it is released, should be done in the presence of her mother. We are hopeful that the jail authorities will allow for the book release to be done in the jail,” Mananthavady said, adding that the entire royalty of his book, to be released next month, will go to Lissy.

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