The Sugar-Sweet Kiss: Lalitambika Antharjanam

[This is an excerpt from the translation included in the collection of her translated short stories On the Far Side of Memory, New Delhi, OUP, 2018]


Two little eyes opened, just a teeny bit. But shut tight again, as if the light jabbed them. He stretched, nice and slow. A moment at the line dividing sleep and wake. Sleep had bid goodbye. Wake had not yet arrived. Continue reading “The Sugar-Sweet Kiss: Lalitambika Antharjanam”

“Don’t We Need Variety?”: K Saraswathi Amma


Surrounded by all those medicine-bottles, seated on the chair with the book open on her lap, shielding her eyes from the light with her right hand and sniffing the inhaler held in her left, Susheela looked the very archetype of the Sick Woman. She lifted her head and looked at the clock. Nearly two o’clock.  Her husband was still not home. She put the book on the table, got up and took the feeding bottle. Raising the mosquito-net, she fed the baby with it. Continue reading ““Don’t We Need Variety?”: K Saraswathi Amma”

Family Eminence: K Saraswathi Amma



The clouds of dusk had already turned the fine sand in the front of the house to gold.  As soon as she reached home from the printers’, Kamalamma pulled off the neryathu, brooch and all, and threw it on the clothesline before she ran to her mother. “Wretchedly tired from composing,” she said, “lots of material had to be printed urgently today – can I have gruel and whatever’s for dinner right now, Amma?” Continue reading “Family Eminence: K Saraswathi Amma”

The Womanly Birth: K Saraswathi Amma


Malathy was furious. “Indeed! You have all possible tricks in this world up your sleeve! Total loose cannon – in word and deed! But will you let anyone pick a fight with you or get angry? No, no, you take out the charm, the cooing! Hug, put arms around their neck, hold up their chin, and what all other sorts of darling –y antics? Look, Santhy, stop this clowning now!” Continue reading “The Womanly Birth: K Saraswathi Amma”

The Woman Subordinate: K Saraswathi Amma

Paru Amma sat still, forgetting her surroundings, not even noticing that the rice had boiled over and extinguished the hearth. On her right side hung a large coconut-palm fronds-mat. She had to barely turn her head; through a gaping hole in the mat, everything next door could be seen. The other side of the road was elevated. The number of rooms in that house, the exact spot where the kitchen stood, the bathroom – Paru Amma knew it all. Her memories would fly back to her maidenhood when someone came occasionally to stay there. Once she reached that time, her mind would  dwell upon the house and it alone. Continue reading “The Woman Subordinate: K Saraswathi Amma”

Bookish Love: K Saraswathi Amma

Passing the Bachelor’s degree in English with first-class marks from the college in Changanasherry landed me in a proper soup. My extreme commitment to textbooks granted me the ability to swallow all of it by heart, and this dragged towards me the Goddess of Victory and Prosperity, who however indulged in pranks worthy of a total imp. Thus I set out to study for an MA degree in English in the capital city with my father’s help and the blessings of the Catholic priests who had taught me. Continue reading “Bookish Love: K Saraswathi Amma”

Fifty-five Passengers Only: K Saraswathi Amma


The conductor managed to free one hand and blow the whistle. The bus began to move. Many who had earlier advanced rightful claims were now reduced to begging. There were folks who had to reach weddings before the auspicious hour; also people whose very families were in danger of being thrown out bag and baggage if they didn’t reach the court on time and win the case. Continue reading “Fifty-five Passengers Only: K Saraswathi Amma”

The Sweetmeat: K Saraswathi Amma

Love, as far as Woman is concerned, is a terribly alluring sweetmeat. You can intoxicate her with it and like a skilled magician, lead her anywhere; make her do anything. All you need to do is to make sure that her intelligence and discretion do not have a chance to ignite the life-force and rouse her from that emotional languor. Fear not – at no time will she free herself from that daze. Continue reading “The Sweetmeat: K Saraswathi Amma”

The Libber: K Saraswathi Amma


That was a short trip from Kottayam to Thiruvananthapuram. Still, Vilasini was scared to travel alone. However, it is shabby to show one’s fear and nervousness, isn’t it? She wasn’t just a schoolgirl anymore, for sure. Two whole years had passed since she’d got into a women’s college as a fully grown woman. And now, was about to join the Honours class. Continue reading “The Libber: K Saraswathi Amma”