Thursday, April 26, 2012

Manju(Snow) by M T Vasudevan Nair

This short novel by one of the most gifted Malayalam writers made me think about something very inevitable in our life; something  that will make you excited,  sometimes desperate, sometimes disappointed. It is a verb, a noun, a pronoun and a feeling...Yes, Manju made me think about "waiting". 

This is a story of people, in a faraway hill station, each of them waiting for someone. Vimala, a teacher in a residential school, is waiting for  Sudheer , who, touched her heart years before. Buddhu, the boatman, is waiting for his father, who he has never seen, to come back.  When the hill station is getting ready to welcome tourists, these people are waiting for some tourists to come back and give meaning and hope to their lives.

In spite of being a novella, the main protagonist, Vimala, is a well-defined character. Her life, family background, emotional setup etc are well-etched. The other characters who appear in between somehow supplements her loneliness.

A well narrated story. 3.5 out of 5.

Trivia: made into a movie later.

Picture courtesy:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Now Let Me Sleep (Ini Njan Urangatte) by P.K Balakrishnan

Mahabharatha is undoubtedly the great epic of India.  But I would always like to see it as a great text of human psychology, strategy , politics and diplomacy. This is my second book related to Mahabharatha after this.

Kurukshetra war is over, Pandavas won the kingdom, although they lost most of their allies and relatives in the war and the post-war massacre. It is at this point that Kunthi reveals to the Pandava brothers that Karna is her eldest son. Yudhistira is devastated hearing this and decides to renounce his throne.This is a shock to Draupadi who was hoping to finally find justice after war. A sudden declaration from Kunthi is not strong enough for Draupadi to consider Karna in a new light. The way she always picturised Karna was how he sat in the Kaurava court and laughed when she was being disrobed by Dusshassana.

Now the story of Karna gradually unfolds, through Draupadi's eyes. In the words of many of her friends and relatives, including Krishna, Kunthi and Sanjaya, Draupadi starts to see the real Karna. Karna is growing now, in Draupadi's as well as readers' eyes.

Unlike Randamoozham, this work is based on well known facts. Though Karna is a much-written-about epic figure, Karna-in-Draupadi's-perspective is a refreshing take on his life.

Will not replace Randamoozham as my favourite work in this genre, but still a good work. 3.75 out of 5.