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Category Archives: Seriously on the Lighter Side

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.


“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:


Chromosome Chronicles: The Appointment

Another conversation with the lone Y chromosome at home.


XX: Did you make the appointment?

XY: What appointment? Read the rest of this entry

I Promise You This is Not Sentimental

Yesterday at the dinner table.

It’s September 21st. It’s already the 22nd back home. I am reminiscing about that terrible night 19 years ago. The night since when a phone call from India always made me assume the worst. Because that night a phone call did convey the worst. My father was no more. Read the rest of this entry

A Sweet and Spicy Love Story a.k.a Appam and Mutton Curry

(All images courtesy Bhairavi Remitha)

There she sat, in all her demure softness; decked in a pristine white bodice while her frilly, lacy golden brown skirt billowed around her in scalloped perfection. She sat waiting, waiting for her beloved, shooting coy glances towards him. Read the rest of this entry

Of Slippers, Rings, And Other Such Trinkets

The philosopher Blaise Pascal once remarked, “Cleopatra’s nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been changed.” Something tells me it wasn’t just the nose that would have changed the history of the world. A nose ring perhaps.

Just take a gander through history and literature and look at the havoc created by the various accessories women use to adorn themselves. Maybe it wasn’t havoc all the time, but you have to admit that the various trinkets women wear have played significant roles in many tales.

Read the rest of this entry