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MALAYALAM

Existential dilemmas

K. Kunhikrishnan

ANANDINTE KATHAKAL (1960-2002) — Stories: Anand; Current Books, Round West, Thrissur-680001. Rs. 295.

P. SACHIDANANDAN, under the non-de- plume of Anand, is a writer with a difference. No other writer in Malayalam has been as concerned as him with the existential predicaments in the contemporary society.

His short stories and novels bring into sharp focus the problems and the pangs of pain, and the agony of being totally isolated and incapacitated poor beings.

He does not follow a set pattern of style and the writer himself directly puts forth his ideas.

His convictions and call for justice come through very forcefully, and the protest against injustice is strong and compelling.

A few stories are precursors to novels and belie the adage that short stories cannot be expanded in to novels. The stories span a period of 42 years and the collection has 42 stories arranged in six sections.

The stories are really trans-national and the characters pan Indian.

They are not confined to Kerala and non-Kerala locales, like Bengal, Rajastan and Gujarat, though now not uncommon, were not there in the short stories of the 1960s.

The style and craft slowly evolve through the decades and the writer's convictions are more focussed and the stories sensitise the reader.

The bureaucracy with its labyrinthine tentacles making human sufferings much more intense in the stories and the resultant miseries are moving accounts of alienation.

This style develops further into existential quandaries and the stories contain a lyrical charm and the images created carry fictional logic. Facts, ideas, arguments and dialogues find prominent place.

A strong urge for justice and fair play, concurrent with the helplessness of the ordinary beings and the metaphysical aspects are woven into the fabric of the texts.

A remarkable study of the stories by way of introduction renders a better understanding of the stories.

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