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Category Archives: Life & Living

Nishagandhi, Nee Ethra Dhanya

August 3, 2022 @ 9.37 pm

7 years! That’s how long I waited. Sometime over the years, it became more than just a flower. I started reading more meaning into it and its refusal to bloom. It became a symbol, a metaphor, an encrypted message… of a dream that would never be fulfilled, of unattainable hopes, and deep longings that would never be realized, of something even I didn’t recognize within me, of what would never be… it had become more than a flower. It had become an emotion. An emotion in search of words. In search of a name. Read the rest of this entry

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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:

Biriyani Tales

We, as a family, are foodies. Gathering around a table full of good food or just talking about good food, is one of our favorite things to do. As for my girls and me, looking up food videos in Instagram or drooling over the ones in Buzzfeed can keep us busy for hours. When we are bored or feeling down, we look at food. Comfort food doesn’t even have to be eaten. What I am trying to say is that, we, as a family, bond plenty over food.

Ever since our trip to India last summer, we find ourselves reminiscing about the biriyani we had a couple of days before we came back. Read the rest of this entry

Pallankuzhi – Seethakkali or Seethayattam – A Game for the Times

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Manjadikkurus in pallankuzhi

According to legend, when Seetha was imprisoned in the Ashokavana by Ravana, she was allowed just one form of entertainment – a Pallankuzhi. A game with a wooden/metal board with shallow dips and red seeds. And on the Pallankuzhi, there are several two player games you can play; but either because none of the rakshasis (demonesses) guarding her wanted to have anything to do with her or because Seetha didn’t want anything to do with her scary guard detail, she played only a single player game. And this was a game that would never end. She just went on and on with her endless game, all year till Rama and his ragtag army of monkeys built that bridge to Lanka, slayed the demon king Ravana and his army, routed his magnificent city, and set her free. Read the rest of this entry

Chromosome Chronicles: The Appointment

Another conversation with the lone Y chromosome at home.

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XX: Did you make the appointment?

XY: What appointment? Read the rest of this entry