One of the boys

Tulika’s recent publication Being Boys seeks to take on the notion that ‘boys will be boys’ by having a variety of voices record disparate experiences of boyhood.

20bgfWordWithYouCo_1588421eA fitting addition to this collection is the voice of Siddalingaiah, whose refreshing lack of self-conscious sentimentality makes his autobiography A Word With You, World a rip-roaring read. He offers us a generous peek into his childhood years, from growing up in the last hut of a dalit colony on the edges of Magadi town to life in dalit hostels across Bangalore. The excerpted section called “The Haunted Sampige Tree” talks about one such relic from the memory of his hostel days. From being the feared abode of ghosts the tree later becomes the source of flowers plucked and gifted to the girls from the government school across the road. The many instances of discrimination are weaved in with a subtlety that perhaps does greater justice to grasping his experiences. As the critic D.R. Nagaraj says in his afterword to Siddalingaiah’s autobiography, “This is writing that makes rage pleasant. Here, anger becomes sarcasm. Ire is translated into a mischief.”

Read A Word With You, World and let Siddalingaiah show you the many ways of laughing at ourselves—an ability that might equip one better for that wonderfully singular experience of being a boy.

Buy A Word With You, World here.