This collection of eighteen stories in English translation is vintage Chudamani. The stories explore a variety of themes, such as the psychological landscape of a girl who had to stop going to school, of the insecurity of a mother who sucks the life out of her child, of a deserted woman who stands tall with her self-respect intact, of the loneliness of a forgotten actor of yester-years. Two stories tell the tales of two exceptional musicians (both dead) and their wives; but the likeness ends there. Two stories speak of two fathers and their daughters; but the similarity ends there. In the midst of simple, straightforward narration, the master storyteller makes a sharp, ironic comment on social barriers and taboos.
Chudamani understood children, she understood persons with disabilities; she understood men too. But many of her stories centre around the woman with her anxieties in the role of a wife, sister or mother. She tells us: this is how She is, She feels, and She lives and struggles. Chudamani does not judge; nor does she say that the woman is perfect.
R. CHUDAMANI (1931-2010) was a prolific writer in Tamil and English. Sitting in her room, from where she could see a Nagalinga tree, she wrote with empathy about a wide spectrum of issues concerning women, children and men. Though keeping a low profile, she made a niche for herself in the Tamil literary world through her sensitive portrayal of people around her. She won several literary awards, such as the Kalaimagal Silver Jubilee Award, the Ananda Vikatan Prize, the Ilakkia Chintanai (short story of the month) Award, the Bombay Tamil Sangam Silver Jubilee Prize and the State Government Award. She has 32 volumes of fiction to her credit. These include novels, plays and short story collections. She bequeathed all her property to three charities.
Based on her seven short stories (including three from this collection), the Madras Players in 2016 staged a play titled Chudamani. The continued success and the overwhelming response to this play from young and old is testimony to her universal appeal.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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