I have always felt that we need immense courage to do two things: to commit suicide and to write a memoir. The first one is the moment when we confront death face-to-face. The second one is when we try to write down the truths in our life. Now I feel like adding one more thing to this list – writing foreword to a memoir; especially when we place before the life story of a close person.
I thought very deeply why Goodknight Mohan, whom I call Mohan chettan, chose me to write the foreword for his memoir. I’m sure that it is not because I’m a good writer. It can be because of his profound love for me. Our relation remains heart-warming when we work for movies together and even after that. I value that relation and here I write this foreword with words filled with love.
The memoir ‘Mohanam’ was written honestly and beautifully. He started his life in the house ‘Mohanbagh’ at Poonkunnam of Thrissur, but moved to Bombay where he grew into the person he is today. The first part of this memoir is a good instance for how much the surroundings influence a person.
I know Mohan chettan goes in search of curd and rice for lunch no matter which corner of the world he is in. I realise it only now that he was delving into the nostalgia of his childhood at Poonkunnam through the taste of curd and rice.
He held close to his heart the memories of the temple, cricket, matches, coffee smells, the interior of his house filled with fragrance of camphor, sandalwood and Tulsi leaves and every nostalgic experiences even when he moved to urban life in Mumbai. This could be the element that makes Goodknight Mohan different from others.
The struggles during the life in Mumbai is mostly seen only in movies. But it is a real life experience for Mohan chettan. He came all the way from Poonkunnam to Mumbai with only Rs 45 in hand. Though he got a job very soon, he did not stick to it like many others. He tried for better chances and achieved new heights in life.
Though Mumbai gave him tough time, Mohan chettan never hated that place. He even once said, ‘Where I go, I feel suffocated until I’m back here’. Mumbai is a place that enchants people with its love. Mohan transfers this love to everyone who come seeking his help there.
I’m a person who believe that the friendships we make is the only real asset we have in this earthly life. Each person is a book that teaches us many things. Mohan chettan was fortunate to have friendship with people ranging from Kannur native Kunjappu to Bal Thackeray and from K. Karunakaran to Yesudas and Amitabh Bachchan. We have seen a different face of Bal Thackeray in ‘Ghoshayatra’ written by TJS George.
Mohan chettan has clarified that ‘Mohanam’ is not an autobiography but only a memoir. He gracefully narrates how a Kalyanaraman grew into Goodknight Mohan after struggles and hardships. He is a rare personality in the business world.
The ‘Goodknight’ mosquito repellent brand was born after a loving father looked for a solution to save his daughter from mosquito bite. He realised that the Japanese product he found is necessary for the people here and thus ‘Goodknight’ was formed.
I dedicate this memoir by Goodknight Mohan to all who wants to face life with courage and to live it beautifully… With love…
(Excerpts from the foreword written by Mohanlal for Goodknight Mohan’s memoir ‘Mohanam’ published by Mathrubhumi Books)