Through Indian life and culture, the epics of the subcontinent flow like the subterranean River Saraswati. Like Yuddhishthira, who is faced with the puzzling questions posed to him by the enigmatic Yaksha in the Mahabharata, the Indian Everyman, conscious of dharma and niti, is expected to find answers to ethical and existential dilemmas. While the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and Silappadikaram are the best known of the sacred narratives of the past, there exists a vast reservoir of other epics—many still in the oral tradition.
Kurinjithen, literally honey of the kurinji flower, is a timeless poem in prose that transports you to the lush Nilgiris where this beautiful blue flower grows wild and to the land of the Badagas who inhabit these hills. It is also Rajam Krishnan’s eulogy to a vanished world and way of life. Once in twelve years when the kurinji blooms in these hills, bees store the honey of the kurinji in combs in rock crevices and on branches of trees. When the Kurinji Blooms narrates the family saga of three generations of Badagas who have for long remained untouched by modernity. Then, as the winds of commerce and change invade their tranquil and sheltered lives, innocence and harmony are replaced by conflict and tragedy that herald new beginnings.
Electrifying Indonesia tells the story of the entanglement of politics and technology during Indonesia’s rapid post-World War II development. As a central part of its nation-building project, the Indonesian state sought to supply electricity to the entire country, bringing transformative socioeconomic benefits across its heterogeneous territories and populations.
The Man Who Walked Backwards and Other Stories is an anthology of eighteen short stories by S Ramakrishnan, the popular and critically acclaimed master of modern Tamil writing. The stories in this collection are a celebration of eccentricities: they feature characters who defy conventions, and who listen to their inner selves instead of conforming to familial and societal norms.
Claire Pedersen and her husband relocate from NYC to the Catskills after finding a terrific deal on a property in foreclosure. The house has been in April Ives’ family for three generations, but the single mother of three children from two different fathers needs the money. Claire and April are instantly antagonistic, but the sale proceeds, and renovations begin. Soon after, Claire’s husband develops an erotic fascination with Anna, a young Korean member of a nearby religious community called the Eternals.
Why would an inkstone have a poem inscribed on it? Early modern Chinese writers did not limit themselves to working with brushes and ink, and their texts were not confined to woodblock-printed books or the boundaries of the paper page. Poets carved lines of verse onto cups, ladles, animal horns, seashells, walking sticks, boxes, fans, daggers, teapots, and musical instruments. Calligraphers left messages on the implements ordinarily used for writing on paper. These inscriptions—terse compositions in verse or epigrammatic prose—relate in complex ways to the objects on which they are written.
The stories in Khem K Aryal’s new collection present a deeply human perspective on the travails—and triumphs—of a group of Nepalese immigrants struggling with the consequences of their decision to come to America.