Where the Rain is Born

Where the Rain is Born

Product ID: 7665

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Author: Anita Nair
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 316
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0143029193


A combination of essays, short stories, poems and extracts from published works both in English and Malayalam-including perennial favourites like Chemmeen and The Legends of Khasak – this anthology affords a tantalizing glimpse into the rich and varied layers of experience that Kerala has to offer.

In this anthology, writers as diverse as Arundhati Roy, Ramachandra Guha, O V Vijayan, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer and Kamala Das combine to bring alive the languid beauty and charged social and political ethos of this tiny state that has been listed as one of the top fifty holiday destinations in the world.

The southernmost part of India was born, it is said, when the mighty Parasurama-sixth avatar of Vishnu – threw his battle axe to carve out the territory that would henceforth be his. And thus begins the story of Kerala, the land of coconut palms (kera), backwaters and lagoons; joyous temple festivals, classical kathakali and ayurvedic healing.

Shashi Tharoor writes of indolent summer vacations spent in his grandmothers, house in a small village in southern Kerala: Alexander Frater captures in mesmerizing prose the spectacle of the dark monsoon clouds as they rush towards the coast, heralding the arrival of the south-west monsoon in India; Pankaj Mishra describes his experience in a no-Indians please seaside hotel in Kovalam.

Salman Rushdie’s evocation of life in Cochin, with its mixed Jewish and Portuguese legacies, brings alive the historical roots of the ancient port city, while William Dalrymple, walking the narrow streets of contemporary Kochi, is surprised by the discovery of a living church of St. Thomas-the first known Christian visitor to these pats. At the other end of the spectrum are Father Alphonse and his band of Villagers in idyllic Mayyazhi, Mukundan’s Mahe, where French and Malayali influences fight for dominance.

Changing lifestyles and the gradual erosion of past values and traditions in favour of a seemingly modern, yet paradoxically conservative society engage the interest of several of the writers featured in this collection. The tempered nostalgia of being a part of the royal family of Thiruvananthapuram, the fierce patriotism of the Gulf-returned Malayali, and the reality of male-female hierarchies in a community that likes to boast of its strong matrilineal traditions make for a bitter-sweet depiction of today’s Kerala where high literacy and excellent health care are balanced by the highest rates of suicide and unemployment in India.



The corridor

Chasing the monsoon

Charles and I

Marthanda Varma

The village before time


Grandmother's funeral

In search of doubting Thomas

The Blue light

Fool's paradise?

Where everything is different

The first lessons

Butter chicken in Ludhiana

The expanse of imagination


The voice

Mattancheri in Manhattan

The moor's last sigh

Sesame seeds, flowers, water

The garden of the antlions


On the banks of the Mayyazhi

The power of one

God's own country

Hangman's journal

Those were the daze

Ancient Promises

The thief of memories

The mountain that was as flat as a football field on the top

Stalinist and Indian: EMS Namboodiripad

The bonsai tree

Mundu, meesha, kumbha, koda: The sartorial splendour of the Malayali male

The town they come from

The swamp

Notes on contributors

Copyright acknolwdgements