Katha Vilasam: The Story Within offers a path-breaking series of 50 articles by S. Ramakrishnan, published over the course of four years in the widely read Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan, to a wider reading public through translation into English. The writing style is intentionally direct and compact to suit a magazine readership. Nevertheless, the prose is elevating, even lyrical at times. There are “Aha” moments aplenty.
The author uses a unique device in these units. They are “stories within stories”. In each unit, he describes an incident from his own experience and relates it to a short story he has read by a particular eminent Tamil writer. He paraphrases/summarises the writer’s story, melds it into his own reminiscence, and allows the two to resonate and create a musical signature in the reader’s mind.
Thus, 50 noted short story writers in the Tamil language are featured here.
The avowed purpose of the author was to introduce the readers of Ananda Vikatan (who may have been readers of nothing but magazines) to also delve into the works of excellent Tamil short story writers. The series ran for four years and was very well received by readers.
Each unit deserves to be read and re-read not only for the insights and information about writers in different genres, but for the word wizardry and imagery that flow effortlessly through the lines.
It is hoped that this English translation will teleport these unique offerings to a wider reading public and bring the works of excellent Tamil writers into the lives of discriminating lovers of literature everywhere.
Table of Contents
Authors's note- Where Stories Live
1. Moving Shadows (Mouni)* 2. Parallax Error (Aa. Madhavan) 3. Thinnai*Chitchat (Mu.Suyambulingam) 4. Blackboard Images (Thi. Janakiraman) 5. Front Door Back Door (Aadhavan) 6. Words Remaining (Asokamithran) 7. Going Grey (Na Muthusamy) 8. Summer in the City (Dileep Kumar) 9. Smoke in the Belly (Gopi Krishnan) 10. Sand in the Eye (Poomani) 11. Moon Gazing (B S Ramiah) 12. Lines on the Palm (S. Kalyanasundaram)13. The House Next Door (M.V.Venkatram) 14. Wave and Foam (Ki. Rajanarayanan)15. Mirage (Pa. Jayaprakasam)16. A Handful of Rice (Ku. Azhagirisamy) 17. Midnight (Pudumaipithan) 18. The Aroma of the Cradle (Una. Ramachandran) 19. Reminiscence (Nakulan) 20. False Smile (G.Nagarajan) 21. Atonement (Paavannan) 22. The First Step (Ma. Aranganathan) 23. The Path of History (Sa. Thamizhselvan) 24. Boneless Tongue (NaanjilNaadan) 25. Highway Journey (Indira Parthasarathy) 26. The Stone Pedestal (Gandharvan) 27. The Colour of Solitude (La. Sa. Ramamirtham) 28. Familiar Face (Ku. Pa. Ra) 29. The Shadow Horse (Sa. Kandasami) 30. Single Room (S. Sampath) 31. Blood Debt (Sujatha) 32. Floating Dreams (Krishnan Nambi) 33. Yesterday there was a House (Karichaan Kunju) 34. Smoke Screen (Konangi) 35. The Trapeze (Damayanthi) 36. Moist Breeze (Prapanchan) 37. Under the Sun (Pramil) 38. Personal Effects (Nila. Padmanaban) 39. Portrait (Thanjai Prakash) 40. Grasp of Letters (Ambai) 41. Shiva of the South (Na. Pichamurthi) 42. Drenched in Words (Sundara Ramasamy) 43. An Unfulfilled Desire (A. Muthulingam) 44. The Unwritten Story (Jeyamohan) 45. The Evil and the Good (Chudamani) 46. Grievance without End (Vela. Ramamurthy) 47. The Melody of Twenty (Rajendra Chozhan) 48. The Nature of Love (Gowrishankar) 49. Desire knocks at the Door (Jayakanthan) 50. The Inner Portrait (‘Mahakavi’ SubramaniaBharathi)
*includes featured Author
S. Ramakrishnan is an influentially important writer of modern Tamil literature. His published works include 10 novels, 20 collections of short stories, 60 collections of articles, 20 books for children, 3 books of translation, and 9 plays. Born in 1966, he is a native of Mallankinaru village of Virudhunagar district of Tamilnadu. His short stories are noted for their modern story-telling style in Tamil. He became a celebrated author to lakhs of readers through his series of articles published in the Tamil weekly Ananda Vikatan. Among the many important awards won by him are the Sahitya Academy Award in 2018, the Tagore Literary Award for his novel Yamam, the Iyal Award for Lifetime Achievement from Canada, the Maxim Gorky Award, the Ganavani Award, and the Periyar Award.
S. Ramakrishnan lives in Chennai with his wife Chandra Prabha and sons Hariprasad and Akash.
P.C. Ramakrishna is a veteran theatre artiste and director with 50 years in theatre. He is a former President of the Madras Players, the oldest English Theatre Company in India, and is a voice-over professional. His is a familiar voice on documentaries, corporate and heritage films, children’s audiobooks, etc. He has also translated several works of the noted Tamil novelist, Sivasankari.
Malini Seshadri is a writer, editor, and translator with several years of experience in each of these areas. Apart from newspaper articles, she has a number of published works to her credit including textbooks for schools and colleges and many works of translation from Tamil to English.