Oru Desathinte Katha
By S.K. Pottekkatt
Translated into English as Tales of Athiranippādam by Sreedevi K. Nair and Radhika P. Menon
Recipient of both, the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1973 and the Jnanpith Award in 1980, Oru Desathinte Katha is a semi-fictionalized autobiography of S.K. Pottekkat. It showcases the sorrows, love, laughter and sighs of the people who live in the village of Athiranippādam, located in the southern state of Kerala and draws upon the history of the country while detailing the micro-history of a place. The book takes the readers on a journey that spreads across a huge canvas—from Athiranippādam to North India and as far as Africa and Switzerland—stretching over a period of 55 years. Sreedharan, the central character, offers us a glimpse of the author’s own life in the little corner of the earth called Athiranippādam, where he was raised. He is both a witness and a participant in some of the momentous events that at times change, and at times, twist, the fortunes of Athiranippādam. Employing an interesting amalgamation of street gossip, fairy tale and recorded history—the nostalgic and autobiographical stance of the narrative haunts the reader enormously.
About the Author
Sankaran Kutty Pottekkatt (1913–1982), popularly known as S. K. Pottekkatt, was an illustrious Malayalam novelist, short story writer, dramatist, travelogue writer and teacher. He was the author of nearly sixty books which include ten novels, twenty-four collections of short stories, three anthologies of poems, eighteen travelogues, four plays, a collection of essays and a couple of books based on personal reminiscences. His works have been translated into English, Italian, Russian, German and Czech, besides all major Indian languages.