Read a few Selected Stories by Akbar Kakkattil (Olive Publishers). I started exploring the works of this author after reading “Aaraam Kaalam” (the problem of translating this title to English is discussed elsewhere in this article), which appeared in “100 years, 100 stories” published by DC Books. Like many other Malayalam writers Kakkattil is also a story-teller of country side. But many of his tales grow beyond such boundaries and “Aaraam Kaalam,” is a perfect example.
This story or rather incident sketches a true local setting: a few young friends in a locality hire a “trekker” (a vehicle resembling a jeep) to go to the marriage of one of their common friends whose house is a couple of hours' journey away. Many characters in the story have a local flavor: the ticket clerk in a local cinema talkies, the taxi driver, the local political activist and so on.
Kakkattil gives a narration of an incident. Though the story-teller is careful about maintaining a curiosity in the reader till the end of the story, the reader never knows that it was a story through which he was taken along all the way. When he reads the last sentence, he recalls all what happened till that time. The author goes silent here and the reader begins to realize with astonishment that suddenly everything measured up to become a story. The author might be saying: “You have been reading things like 'I did this, I did that, I went there, He didn't turn up, I waited, Then somebody else turned up, It rained, etc.' But at the end, see how everything became a marvelous story.” And rightly so.
There is more to say about this story. I also need to get acquainted with other famous works of this writers. Shall come back to this topic later.