At a Glance....
Title: Kalki: Selected Stories
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre : Collection of selected short stories
Format : Paperback
I think this book was picked up from a garage sale many years back and only this month that I was able to pick it up to read.
The original work is in Tamil and it has been translated by Gowri Ramnarayan,Kalki's grand daughter. Kalki ,whose real name is Ramasamy Krishnamurthy, was a Tamil Writer, critic, poet, Indian independence activist.
I picked up this book because mom is a huge fan of Kalki's work and seeing this in my bookshelf prompted me to read it.
Though I can read Tamil, I started off with this book and will later move on to the original Tamil versions of Ponniyin Selvan, Sivakamiyin Sabafham and Parthiban kanavu, all of which are sitting on the bookshelf.
Now about the book...
This book is a compilation of 12 short stories .The themes of these stories reflect the social issues of his time and some of the ideals were way ahead of his times. Back then, these stories would have created a stir in the society!Most of the stories have a twist in the end and all the stories are engaging.
These are the stories,the original titles in tamil and the magazine in which they were published.
- The letter - Kadithamum Kaneerum [Ananda Vikadan 1937] - Talks about education for women and life of childhood widow.This story is based on a real life protagonist who dedicated her life to the upliftment of women.
- The poison cure - Vishamandhiram [Navasakthi 1925] - One of the earliest stories written by Kalki, talks about untouchability and this too is based on real life incidences and that which Kalki was a part of!
- The rebirth of Srikanthan - Srikanthan Punarjanmam [Kalaimagal date unknown] - It is a tale of love and misplaced trust.On the background we read a lot about the various stages of the freedom struggle and how women were looked down on when they appeared in a public platform and addressed a gathering.
- The Governor's visit - Governor Vijayam [Navasakthi 1925] - This story line is apt even now and one can relate to the current day political situation!!
- Rural fantasy - Kanaiyazhiyin kanavu [Ananda Vikadan 1934] -In the translator's words, Kalki wants the reader to chuckle and chortle with him over the madness that has infected a small sleepy village where each day brings in new stuffs and no two days are similar!!
- The Tiger king - Puliraja [ Kalki 1941] -This is one of the most translated stories of Kalki. The story is fun from start to finish.
- Sivakozhundu of Tiruvazhundur - Tiruvazhundur Sivakozhundu [Ananda Vikadan 1939] - This story is through the voice of Kandappa Pillai.He tells us about the tale of a Nadaswaram genius who retired at the peak of his career.
- The Big swelling sea - Pongumankadal [Kalki 1948] - This is the only story in this book which is the abridged version and the translator felt this was the toughest one to translate.
- The S.S. Menaka - S.S. Menaka [Kalki 1942] - The evacuation of Burma in World war II is the backdrop of this story.But this is not the story about war and destruction but about love binding two hearts amidst all the destruction.
- The Ruined fort - Idindha Kotai [Anantha Vikatan 1940]
- Veenai Bhavani - Veenai Bhavani [ Kalki 1942]-It talks of the Devadasi system which is passe now but it is a good read.
- Madatevan's spring -Madatevan Sunai [Kalki 1950] - A historical romance themed story that acclaimed him to be an exponent in this genre!
Now after reading this translated version, I am going to search for the original one in Tamil and enjoy the stories in Kalki's own words.
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