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Devi – Translation of a Short Story by B Jeyamohan

Devi is a story that celebrates the feminine power in its different forms while following the triumphs and travails of an amateur theater group. It is set in a small village teeming with robust and highly opinionated characters, which makes the plot all the more animated.

I would like to say I found a niche. And I am immensely enjoying doing this. So much that I ask myself what took me so long. What made translating Devi such an enjoyable experience – beyond the fact that it has a kickass woman at the center of things – is the language, the landscape, and the delightful array of characters. So familiar, so nostalgic… and if you know me, you know that nothing drives me like a good shot of nostalgia and the whiff of home.

Devi was my first full fledged translation and I have a lot of people to be thankful to. First of all the author B Jeyamohan for his whole hearted support of my endeavor and for being such a source of inspiration; A Muttulingam Sir, veteran Tamil writer for his encouragement, blessings, and kind words to a novice; Suchitra Ramachandran seasoned translator and RS Saha for their help with editing and helping me tighten the translation; Dear friends Asha Suren and Prasad Puzhankara for being first readers and their valuable input which helped me clean up some messy places; Usawa Literary Review and the editors there, especially Suneetha Balakrishnan for giving this story in translation a home and artist/author/awesome woman Babitha Marina Justin for leading me to Usawa; Soundararajan aka Austin Soundar, the ‘Engine’ powering the Vishnupuram Literary Circle (VLC) which is doing great service to Tamil literature; Composer Rajan Somasundaram for bringing me into this fold and for the immense amount of confidence he seems to have in me; and of course the brilliant circle of friends I made through VLC for powering me on with your unflagging enthusiasm and encouragement. You all rock! And it truly takes a village – as the story undoubtedly proves 😉

Devi lets us in on some amusing true stories from the author’s early adulthood and features a host of real life characters. The heartwarming camaraderie of the village folk that crosses boundaries of language and community, the easy, non-malicious give and take, their innovative minds making the best of limited resources, and the general congenial atmosphere are what make the story what it is. And of course Neyyattinkara Sridevi!!! What a character! Read on to find out what makes her such a powerhouse.

Devi

“Just one female character? That’s not going to work,” said ‘Petti’ Khader. “A play must have at least three female characters. That’s the norm. If people just go about staging plays any which way, it’s not going to work.”

“It’s just a play, right?” asked Ananthan. Read on as originally published here:

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