Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kuzhali Manikavel stories and their part in my downfall

The breeze rustled gently through the leaves of the tamarind tree. I wondered if any tamarinds would fall. They usually did.

The old woman stared at  the tree with as much intensity as I did. Her furtive eyes swept to observe mine and I saw burning coals within them. They seemed to ask silently if I had read a Kuzhali Manickavel story, and if I had, whether I had understood it. I shamefully averted my gaze because I hadn't. Understood it, that is. I had read several.

Many years ago, Mr. Venkatachalam had told me "one day, my son, there will be an author who will write stories you will not understand. You will then wish you had studied literature more seriously than you have, and eschewed Dave Barry for James Joyce" but I had not heeded him. I wished I had heeded poor Mr Venkatachalam.

Of course, it was too late. I turned to wave to Mr. Venkatachalam, but he did not wave back.