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.
The struggles and emotional turmoil of a close-knit people who live close to nature and their transition from a traditional way of life towards modernity are chronicled using the motif of the kurinji, which symbolizes the passage of time. A poignant and compelling portrait of a unique community set against the breathtaking beauty of the Nilgiris, Krishnan captures the essence of the landscape and its people in vibrant and photographic detail, immersing us in the lifeworld of the Badagas, their culture and customs, their loves and fears, their hopes and aspirations, even as they negotiate change.
Uma Narayanan and Prema Seetharam’s masterful and sensitive translation of the acclaimed novel brings alive the many charms and rhythms of Badaga life, inviting us to rediscover the enduring magic of Krishnan’s writing and the blue kurinji.