Friday, April 27, 2007

Discovering Malayalam literature

I was aimlessly browsing the Indian Literature section in a bookstore last January, when I came across a booked called "The Unspoken Curse" by V.K.Madhavan Kutty. I had seen his earlier book "A Village Before Time" in Landmark a couple of times, but never got down to buying it. Being away from home often brings one closer to one's roots, and two-and-a-half years of life in the US had made me more conscious of the Malayali in me; the book was bought.

It was a decision influenced by my parents, who had spent many a pleasant evening (earlier that year) chatting with the author himself. An uncle of mine was getting some ayurvedic treatment done at a local Arya Vaidya Sala, and when they visited him, they were pleasantly surprised to find that Madhavan Kutty was staying in the next room. They said he was a very unassuming man - simple and straighforward. [He would pass away a few months later, in November 2005].

Over the next month or so, I read the book gradually. The storyline was rather poignant. In it, I could see so many memories (sights, sounds and smells) of life in Kerala. The politics of the tharavaad, the laments of the unmarried ones and the dynamics of the joint-family system are things that I am fairly familiar with. And so, I decided I'd read some more works from the pen of the great man.

And so this time when I was back home, I finally picked up "A Village Before Time". It's a brilliant book and I can draw parallels with my family for almost every character he refers to in the book! I wonder if there are other books out there, which have been translated into English.

1 comment:

bugs said...

Back wid a bang..welcome!