Monday, December 8, 2014

And then there were none - Agatha Christie

There were 10 people who were summoned to the Southern Island -  eight men and two women. And that includes Mr and Mrs Rogers, the domestic help appointed by Mr and Mrs Owen, their host and hostess. Much to their dismay, even after their one day stay in the huge mansion, their host and hostess did not turn up. Apprehension brewed when Mr and Mrs Rogers said that they are yet to see those who appointed them. Things starts getting murkier when they hear a grama - phone recording which accuse each one of them to deaths which it says occurred because of them. Whether any deaths are related to them, we will find out in the end. And things gets out of control when they start encountering death every day. Will anyone remain in the end? That's for you to find out.
Hmmm, well I like every bit of it except the end. There was suspense all through but the end 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Remember Me - Mary Higgins Clark

Book: Remember Me
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Publication date: 1994

When you are so entangled in mundane things and frivolous animosities, it is always good to read something which can take you to a different world, severing all the ties here. No doubt, Mary Higgins Clark often took me to a different world. Besides, Clark has always given me a 'Christmas feeling'. Maybe because I always start reading her when Christmas is round the corner.

So, to talk about the book ' Remember Me' – I loved it. The plot was quite simple but you get the real chill when you reach the last pages. After the death of their son, Bobby, Menley's and Adam's marriage begins to fall apart. But the knowledge that Menley was pregnant again gave them another chance to wedge the gap that distanced them. Despite, all the ruckus that caused in their lives due to the death of their son, their love for each other was something they could not ignore.

Menley was having post traumatic attacks after Bobby's death.  After the birth of Hannah, their daughter, they decided to take a break from the daily routine and shift to Cape Cod for a month where Adam grew up. But Adam had to take a few trips to New York for a client, Scott Covey, husband of Vivian Carpenter who died a few days ago in Cape.

Detective Nat Coogan was on a trail and he strongly suspected that Scott Killed his wife.  In Cape, Menley and Adam were living in a house which was named ' Remember House'. Menley was a writer for a Travel magazine and also a well-established children's book writer. When she realised that Remember House which was built in the 17th century had a story to tell, she decided to make it as the backdrop for her next story. It was Adams' childhood friend Elaine who gave them the ' Remember House' for rent thinking that perhaps the couple would buy it in future. 

Soon, some strange things started happening in the house. There were times Menley felt her late son Bobby was calling out to her. The strange incidents were too intense that she began to doubt her sanity and start seeking explanations for the strange incidents happening right under her nose.

 There were times when one tend to feel the involvement of super natural elements. Many a time I even actually got butterflies in the stomach. 

Long and short, I loved it....

by Shalet Jimmy

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Spandikkunna Changambuzha - P I Sankara Narayanan - Book Review

The death of his strict father gave Kochukuttan unrestricted freedom and he exploited it to its brim. One day when he came to his mother with a bleeding hand and in tattered clothes, all hell broke loose. In anguish, she beat him, black and blue.

Surprisingly, the next day, the little boy did not feel even a slight pain of the punishment he got the other day, instead he rode a wave of imagination and wrote “Thrikkanpuramennu Perullorambalam Balakrishnan thante vasadesham kuttichakkalayam veedinte mumbile kuttikkadulla kalipradesham” - and thus he went on completing 150 lines.

This was the first creative outburst of Changampuzha Krishnapillai, the celebrated Malayalam poet of Kerala, says P I Sankaranarayanan in his new work ‘Spandikkunna Changampuzha’, a book written solely with the purpose of getting children acquainted with the acclaimed poet.

Through this book, the author has undoubtedly and beautifully introduced Changampuzha to children. The book opens with two siblings Prasad and Amrita approaching an uncle living near their house to collect information about the celebrated poet. Every morning, they would come to him to learn about Changampuzha right from his childhood days to death.

The author has given more focus to introduce the person himself rather than speaking about his poetry alone. It could have alienated the little readers. Perhaps, the author might have thought that the creative work could be best understood when an opportunity is given to know the author himself. But, he did not forget to introduce Changampuzha’s poems and at the right context.

Sankaranarayanan also leaves valuable messages for children here and there, not explicitly but beautifully interwoven with many stories about the poet. The book evokes nostalgia and also good for grown-ups who do not know Changampuzha. It might prove useful, if an elder reads the story to much younger children.

In fact, this book has made me want to read ‘Nakshathrangalude Snehabhajanam’ by M K Sanu, the biography of Changampuzha Krishna Pillai.

While narrating, the author also introduces other prominent poets and authors. One such is Edappalli Raghavan Pillai.

At the outset, there existed a friction between Edappalii and Changampuzha. But, it gradually faded away as the years flew by. Giving a rude shock, when Edappalli committed suicide, Changampuzha wrote ‘Ramanan’, an elegy which was the one of the best works written by him. Edappalli had confided in him that he had fallen in love with a woman from a rich family. “Nissaramayoru pennumoolam nithyanirashayaal ninte kaalam ee vidham pazhakkukennano jeevithadharmamennathorthunokku,” Changampuzha wrote in ‘ Ramanan’.

But that the same author too fell into the trap called ‘Love’ is another irony, says the author. Though Sankaranarayanan has not written much about various forms of poetry, he has mentioned about ‘Pastoral Elegy’ in the book. ‘Ramanan’ was written in this form.

In the backdrop of an idyllic rural life, the shepherds narrates the story, he puts it in a rather simple way. The author has also mentioned the name of writers like Ulloor, Vallathol, E V Krishnawarrier and Puthezhathu Raman Menon who would definitely prompt children with a creative bend of mind to learn more about them in detail.

The flow of the narration has not been interrupted except once when the all good and prankster little Changampuzha turns into an alcohol addict. The transformation has not been explained well.

It might be because the author only wanted to impart those details about the poet which could be comprehended by the children. It would definitely be a loss, if your child has not read this book. The story ends when the two children along with the uncle pays a visit to Changampuzha Park to visit his graveyard.

In the end, the author does not forget to give Changampuzha’s two famous poems ‘ Kavyanarthaki’ and Manaswini’, the chronology of the great poet’s life and the name of all his works.

published in The New Indian Express, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

Homeport - Nora Roberts

My first Nora Roberts' book and I started off with much anticipations. However, it failed me absolutely. It may sound incredible that I literally took 2 years to complete this book. I would go through some of the pages, finding that it was not going to reach anywhere, I would close it down. This exercise went on for two years. Though with a fragile story line , the characters Ryan Boldari, the art thief and Dr Miranda Jones lingered in my mind. It always coaxed me to complete it. Eventually, I did it around two weeks ago.

To talk about the storyline, the plot is nothing unique - Robbery, associated murders and then the culprits. An art robbery takes place right under the nose of Miranda. The story moves ahead when an art thief Ryan Boldari join hands with Dr Jones to retrieve the stolen pieces and finally solving the murders.

From many reviews I read on this book, there are many who still could not believe that a Nora Roberts' book could fail them completely. One reader kept on looking at the cover page to convince her that she was in fact reading a Nora Robert.

Though not an easy time reading it, I still could not believe that I am not reluctant to go for yet another Nora Roberts book.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

I think I should have read this book some 15 years ago. Then it would have been different. There are times when I badly wanted to go to the other chapter and there are times when I felt like not reading anymore. Maybe the element of prudence is too much for me. But as I said, it could have made a major difference when I was 13 or 17 years old. I think I resembled Jo a lot. Overall I liked it. It begins with a happy note and ends again with a happy note. I really like the scene when Jo cuts her hair to help her father. She knew that she would not get the same mane again. But she did not show any distress about it. But in the middle of the night, she lets out a moan thinking that everyone were fast asleep. When Meg heard it, she consoles her. This scene was a quite a touchy.

Before this year ends, I would like to read 5 classics and thus I completed 1.

These are some of my favourite quotes

She preferred imaginary heroes to real ones, because when tired of them, the former could be shut up in the tin kitchen till called for, and the latter were less manageable.”

I don't like favors; they oppress and make me fell like a slave. I'd rather do everything for myself, and be perfectly independent.”

You have a good many little gifts and virtues, but there is no need of parading them, for conceit spoils the finest genius. There is not much danger that real talent or goodness will be overlooked long; even if it is, the consciousness of possessing and using it well should satisfy one, and the great charm of all power is modesty.”

My Jo, you may say anything to your mother, for it is my greatest happiness and pride to feel that my girls confide in me and know how much I love them.”

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Detour to Canada - Sunil Nair

Detour to Canada’, a debut work of Canada-based Keralite, Sunil Nair has a simple storyline. An Indian student Vinu who has no focus in life dreams of going to the United States of America. But future has something else in store for him. He reaches Canada and he aspires to go to the US from there. During his stay in Canada, his life and perception changes. The elements that bring the change forms the crux of the story. The book is too simple that the question, ‘does the reader need such a simple tale at a time when technology rules the roost’, pops up. It should have been told more than 20 years ago.

Even the fact that this is the author’s debut book could not salvage him from some of the grave mistakes he had committed here. Firstly, home work, a prerequisite for any kind of endeavour is absent. Sadly, it is too conspicuous that it can halt a reader from moving ahead with the story.

There are many such instances in the book that can prove it beyond doubt. When Ramdas’s (Vinu’s father) cousin Raj calls from the USA, the former inquires about the hurricane ‘Sandy’ that has hit America. Ramdas who is unaware of the incident, would have known it from his son who constantly googles about that country. To Ramdas’s query, Raj expresses surprise and replies as follows - ‘You guys already got the news about hurricane? India sure is catching up on international news.’ This is a bit far-fetched. People of India were never that ignorant. The author should have taken pains to know the pulse of changing India. 

The other instance is Vinu dialling 911 instead of 011, the telephone code of India from Canada. Is a computer science graduate from Kochi, that ignorant? Can’t he just simply know that 911 is an emergency number? There is another instance where Vinu expresses wonder over the importance given to Mahatma Gandhi in a foreign land. The author entirely forgot the fact that even the President of the United States has a photo of Mahatma Gandhi in his office cabin. When Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, the whole world interpreted it as a victory of the ideals of Gandhi.

Next comes the language. The book lacks creative flow. Though you read English, you will feel like you are reading Malayalam. A few examples to show that: ‘You are on his side. Just tie him to your sari and keep him with you forever.’; ‘Please don’t start now.’ ; ‘They will kill me then and there.’; ‘There will be fireworks in the house now.’ (here the author is referring to the verbal duel that is about to begin); ‘He is not a typical type....’, the list is endless.

Some portion of the story is like what to do to study in the USA. It seems that the book never went to the editing table. The work of the author could fare better if it paid attention to these details.

Interestingly, even with these flaws, there a was moment in the book that could bring tears in the eyes of the reader.

Even if it’s for a second, the author could bring that emotional element. Mistakes are of course the stepping stone to learning. A big appreciation for the author who took the courage to put it out what he has.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Reading classic challenge for beginners

I have joined Classic reading challenge for beginners, 2014. As only 4 months have left, I decided to read 5 books.

  1. Little Women – Mary Louisa Alcott
  2. Wuthering Heights - Emilie Bronte
  3. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  4. Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain
I am yet to decide the 5th book

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri

There are many books which I do not review purely for the reason that I love to cherish them. That's why I did not review Jhumpa Lahiri's 'Unaccustomed earth' and 'Interpreter of maladies' . But I decided to talk about her book ' The Lowland ' just because I came across many negative reviews.

Some have even pledged that they would not read her books unless she tries to break out that ' NRI cocoon'. There is no dispute over the subject that too much of the same element can make a reader form his/her own preconceived notions on that particular author. But I really do not think, in this story she had used the ' NRI element' just to create a story. Calling her story trivial on this grounds would be an absolute injustice.

Some commented that the Naxalism described in the book is not suffice. Here I would like to point out that this book does not primarily delve into Naxalism. The characters of the story start their lives' journey from 1960's. Naxalism was at it zenith during that period in West Bengal. Perhaps the only place in India which saw the repercussions of Naxalism at its worst.

The fate of Gouri altered when she left Calcutta for America. The Naxalism rampant in the state pulled the trigger for it. Lahiri spoke about the movement, Kanu Sanyal and Charu Majumdar but not superfluously . The details are enough to get a reader acquainted with Naxalism. More of it would have puzzled them. Besides, the story does not demand Naxalism in detail. It is described to form a back ground and not to talk about the pros and cons of the movement.

I have even read in a review that it is an NRI love story – an emphatic ' No' to that. It would be like closing the doors of opportunities to explore a beautiful fiction. The story revolves around a few characters – Udayan, Subhash, Gouri, Bela. But they are round characters and not flat with loads of emotions to convey. They haunt you for many days. The story starts. But does it end? It is for you to discover.

I did not feel like reading a fiction with a set format. It was a journey along with evolving emotions which was a ride in its own way.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Jhumpa Lahiri - My inspiration

Nilanjana Sudeshna Lahiri ( Jhumpa Lahiri )

Years ago, this one photograph introduced me to the world of Pulitzer and writing. Time flew by, but this single picture lingered in my memory. I never ever thought in the wildest of my dreams that I could write. But I used to read then voraciously. The above appeared on the cover of Competition Success Review. But I took years to read her books. And now I am a huge fan of hers. I have read all of her works except the ' Lowland' which I will finish soon.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Agni - C Radhakrishnan

One could well say at the outset that the all-pervading emotion of ‘Agni’ is violence. But as you proceed further, it is not violence alone that rules, but a strange interplay between love and violence. And this bizarre proportion could disturb the reader to the core.

‘Agni’ was originally written in Malayalam in 1963. But the political setting narrated could well fit into the current scenario also, thereby closing the gap of 51 years. Besides, it has been chronicled so vividly that it would not be a stupendous task for any reader, alien to Kerala, to feel the pulse of the state and the district where the story unfolds.

To begin with, the story is set in a village, Chamravattom in Malappuram district, which is also the author’s native place. When the story opens, Moosa, the village butcher has slaughtered his boy assistant and walked away. The severed head still lies there. While narrating the geography, politics and other associated elements which are required to set a backdrop, the author clearly explains that the place is not known for human sacrifices. Hence, when this murder occurs, one would wonder whether it is a case of human sacrifice. But it is not.

Moosa’s 17-year-old daughter Amina, who is lame, had been missing since the night before this fateful incident. Perhaps this might have irked Moosa and, unfortunately, his wrath might have fallen on the poor boy. People are frightened for they know that his fury is yet to subside. His daughter had eloped with her lover Sulaiman. The story has a few characters - Moosa, Amina, assistant boy, Mulla and Amina’s lover Sulaiman. The story revolves around them. But it is Moosa who takes the story forward.

If the reader tries to fathom the real emotion guiding Moosa, the protagonist, it is not going to be an easy task to reach any conclusion. For the book offers a lot of room to explore the undulating emotions which lie hidden in him. You could well take in the anger from an enemy but not from somebody whom you cannot segregate either as a friend or an enemy. Such is the case with Moosa. He would appear beastly. But the emotion he showers on his disabled daughter even after he discovers that she is pregnant out of wedlock would force the reader to think otherwise. But it would not take you too long to reverse the opinion.

Moosa is not totally devoid of love. But, strangely, he had taken a drastic step. The poor boy was forced to suffer a humiliating end for no reason of his own. The reader would be horrified to know that love has manifested itself in a strange and cruel way. For an English reader, who is not well-versed with the works of Radhakrishnan, this is a good introduction.

‘Agni’ was filmed in 1973. As part of the Indian Panorama of Feature Films, ‘Agni’ has been screened at major international film festivals including Mannheim, Istanbul, Moscow and Locarno.

C Radhakrishnan, the acclaimed man of letters, entered the literary scene when he won the novel contest conducted by the Mathrubhumi weekly at the age of 19. His novel ‘ Nizhalppadukal’ topped the 127 entries. Such a contest in novels was perhaps the first of its kind in the state. On many platforms, the author has said that if there were no such contests, there would not have been a writer called C Radhakrishnan.

Being a writer and film director in Malayalam, he has won accolades from various quarters. He was honoured by the Sahitya Akademi in 1989, for ‘Spandamapinikale Nandi’ and the Kerala Sahithya Akademi in 1962, for ‘Nizhalpadukal’. He won the Vayalar Award in 1990 for ‘Munpe Parakkunna Pakshikal’, and the Mahakavi G Award in 1993 for ‘Verpadukalude Viralppatukal’. His works have been translated into various Indian and foreign languages. He was also chosen for the Padmaprabha Puraskaram in 2007.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Decisive Battles and Strategic leaders by J P Alexander

Do we still have inspiring leaders to whom the nation can look up to? Can the country point out at least one leader who has a vision for the future? Do we have leaders who walk the talk? Perhaps these questions pricked the conscience of the civilian in J P Alexander. So he has come up with the book, Decisive Battles, Strategic Leaders.

“Amongst the many crises witnessed by the country, the dearth of leadership stands first in the list. Unfortunately, this crisis remains unattended,” says Alexander.

Written like a history text, it might not have the charm of a work of fiction, but it  definitely talks at length about the strategies followed by prominent leaders to win their respective battles. “Hence it would not be wrong to call this book a personality development guide to mould the younger generation of leaders,” says Alexander.

The book primarily contains the details of every significant battle in the world from 1857 to 2014. These include the battles of Arbela, Waterloo, Gettysburg, the fall of Singapore,  the battles in Vijaynagar,Bahmani kingdoms in 1560, the third battle of Panipat, or the first war of Indian independence, in 1861, and the Bangladesh war in 1971.

“All these wars are a treasure trove of strategies worth emulating,” he says.“Every war has its own strategy. When you meticulously analyse every battle in detail, the strategies become clear.”

The book even throws light on the emotions of a leader while preparing for a battle. “It is wrong to assume that leaders are without any fear,” says Alexander. “But how they channelise it, is the pertinent factor.” He quotes Napolean to prove it. “When drawing a plan of action, I magnify every danger, every disadvantage that can be conceived,” said Napolean. “My nervousness is painful though I conceal it from every one.”

For a civil engineer by profession, to have a liking for history and dates seems an unconventional passion. “I have travelled extensively and these destinations still excites me,” says Alexander. In fact, he has visited every battle site mentioned in the book, including the renowned Waterloo.

But it was the battle field of the Third battle of Panipat that has an emotional connect with him. “Firstly, I had lived in Panipat for many years,” he says. “I knew the descendants of many leaders who fought there. Besides, if the Marathas were not defeated by the Afghan King Ahmad Shah Abdali, they would have beaten the English and the history would have been different,” he says.

The Bangladesh war is yet another battle which Alexander is proud of. “93,000 Pakistanis were captured as prisoners, the largest number after the Second World War,” he says.

The book received plaudits from many included the late Madhukar Rao, former professor of Maharaja’s college, Ernakulam. “That meant a lot to me,” says Alexander.

Though a bibliography is there at the end of the book, the author says he cross-checked those books just to confirm the facts.

“The history and the related chronology is intact in my brain and I hardly needed a reference book,” says Alexander. “But you have to confirm every fact before it gets into print.”

Alexander’s sons and one of his students also helped him compile the graphics and maps. “As maps are copyrighted, I found it difficult to get the needed maps. Hence my children and a student of mine helped me with the maps suited for my purpose,” he says.

Alexander points out that the suggestions given by Lt General Thomas Mathew also helped.“I had stopped with 1971, but what about the current scenario?” Lt General asked. “Hence I wrote about the Indian Ocean and its strategic significance and how India should have a prominent role there.”

Alexander worked in the Marketing, Materials and Management Development departments of the Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Limited. He took nearly two years to complete the work. Justice V R Krishna Iyer will release the book on Sunday.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Veyililekku Mazha Chanju - Malayalam novel, ( review in English )

It is definitely a prodigious task for an author to write a story based on an autobiography. It will have real characters and incidents. The risk burgeons out if it is not an adaptation and the author has to stick to real incidents and characters. A skimpy or superfluous sketch could mar its real objective. But Xavier J has pulled the right strings to make "Nilaykkatha Symphony", an autobiography by veteran journalist Leela Menon, into a beautiful novel titled "Veyililekku Mazha Chanju."

Leela Menon - pic courtesy: Google
  The story starts with Leela, the protagonist being diagnosed with cancer. Slowly the life of Leela Manjari, a small girl from a nondescript village called Vengola unfolds. From a village belle who loves birds, trees and plants, she quickly transforms into a name to be reckoned with, in the field of journalism.

Leela brings to the fore many characters and incidents. Her friends Kamala Das and Sugathakumari who stood by her like a rock during her illness and Prema Vishwananthan who brought her to the world of journalism and her child-like husband Bhaskaran are significant few among them. Without diluting its essence, the author has narrated the Vypeen hooch tragedy, Aruvakkode potter women’s woes,  Sooryanelli and many other reports which once shook Kerala.

Perhaps, Xavier might have faced the biggest challenge from the original work itself. Nilaykkatha Symphony could be categorised into three parts - Leela Menon’s childhood, her life as a journalist with ‘The Indian Express’ and her life after that. How would one condense these three parts that have been written elaborately? It might definitely have been a nerve-racking job.

But, surprisingly, with ease, he has fine-tuned the original work into a novel by picking the right elements. He has compressed it so efficiently that in no way has it affected the essence of the actual work, placing the dialogue in the apt place.

Leela used to wake up in the morning by turning to her right side. It was her mother’s instruction. Otherwise, things would go go wrong, she used to say. And one morning,  blood dripped out of her right nose. Even when she was diagnosed with cancer and given a span of six months to live, it was one of her unfinished stories that haunted her and kept her moving for she felt restless till she completed it.

She borrowed a pen and paper from her doctor and sent the news to the bureau. This undaunted spirit pushed her on even while she had to encounter various hurdles in the form of illnesses from cancer, to bypass surgery and later to facial palsy. And Xavier could successfully bring out this indomitable spirit to the readers.

At the outset the work proceeds in a poetic way, but soon turns into a stubborn fiction being obstinate not to embrace any sort of creativity. Perhaps, the author had to do it as the nature of events demanded it, but it is a bit of a strain for the readers who have not read the autobiography.

The same poetic tempo is not seen throughout the work. When the novel switches over to the narration of her life as a journalist, the reader is likely to be in a dilemma as to whether they are leafing through the autobiography or a novel. It could have been avoided.

The novel starts with a third person account, but at times it slips into a first person narrative. Though it moves parallel to the original work, the novel could have been rendered in a way that it could transcend the readers.

Xavier J is a subeditor with the Malayalam daily, Janmabhumi. His other works include Kadal Malayodu Paranjathu, Zeebravarakal and Rathriyude Pakalurakkam.

- Shalet Jimmy

Monday, January 6, 2014

Bidding adieu to Tess Gerritsen

To Tess Gerritsen 

It is with great sadness that I am parting away with your books. The violence and other related meticulous details portrayed through her novels are too much for me to digest. I still remember one of my blog posts after reading one of her novels saying I felt butterflies in my stomach. It was too eerie. When I was reading her second book, I had to ask my mother to sleep with me. ( Thank God, I was at my home when while reading her book ).  I am sure, I will miss cop Jane Rizzoli and Dr. Maura Isles. I have taken this decision with utter sadness. I love your books with quirky endings. But I did not have any other alternative. The reading used to go smooth when you feel that all these sort of violence occurs only in books. But that has changed. Every day, the brutal stories you come across in dailies have literally given me a jolt. The reality is a burden and I do not need my burden to pile up.

I hope that this parting away is not permanent. I will muster the courage to read you again

With Love

Shalet Jimmy

Sunday, January 5, 2014

My Story - Kamala Das

It's true that when you grow old your perspective changes. It's so true while re-reading a book too. Many thoughts becomes clear and assumes different dimensions. That's a different experience.  The recent in the list of those books which I read again was  Kamala Das ' My Story'.  I should be very specific. I am reading it for the third time. When I first read it, about 15 years ago, the only scene that I remembered from the book was when Das ( her husband ) forcibly kissing her when they meet for the first time. Yet another scene was when her cousin kisses her near a staircase. Except those scenes I remember nothing till I read it for the third time. ( I was stuck with those scenes. It might because I was studying in a convent at that time where all such conversation were a taboo) 

Coming back to the review, 

The Nalappat house, the ancestral home of Kamala provided ample resources to take a deep plunge into the ocean of writing. Her stay in Calcutta too provided ample food for thought. As the title indicates, it is her story where she did not hide behind any hypocrisy. She came out in the open without diluting her thoughts even once. Lesbianism, her frequent love affairs, her quest for love - though she discuss themin detail, I wonder whether she had taken many of those things from the world she had created for herself.  Somewhere down the line, her all romantic expectations never went beyond a certain level. It was miles away from reaching a successful culmination. I felt she was unfortunately stuck in her thoughts and her longing for love froze before fruition.  All through her work I felt her like a reservoir. The water tapped in it wanted to take its own course. But the big walls built around it prevented it. This thought broke my heart. It was not lust she was talking about but love,pure love. 

I was also surprised by the kind of relationship she shared with her husband. She describes that her husband invites his boy friend to her home. They would shut themselves in a room and would behave as lovers.  It  hurts her. But at the same time she loves her husband too. “ When I heard his heavy footfalls on the stairs, I clapped my hands in sheer happiness”.  This was when she was staying away from her husband in Nalappat house with her younger son.  When one of her love letters ended up in her husband's hands he warns her saying that she is innocent and she should keep herself away from such fraudsters. Is n't it a strange kind of relationships. Sometimes I am forced to think that Kamala might have acknowledged that her husband is a homosexual. Because of it, Das did not have any issues with her romantic escapades. ( Am I far-fetched by pointing out this). When this was published years ago, it was a shocker in Kerala. It should be. It shredded into pieces the so called built up moralities existed in Kerala.

I would like to conclude with her quote from ' My story'  “ I sincerely believe that knowledge is exposure to life. I could never bring myself to hang my life on the pegs of quotation for safety . I never did play safe. I compromised myself with every sentence I wrote and thus burnt all the boats that would have reached me to security.”

I give 9/10