‘Why did the kanikonna blossom? It shouldn’t have, knowing that no one would pay it heed anyway.’ This anthology answers the question raised by a voice within it. Selected from seven decades of dalit writing in Malayalam and presented in new translations by Abhirami Girija Sriram and N. Ravi Shanker, these twenty-three stories, farcical and magical, terse and baroque, domestic and picaresque, reveal that the disregarded laburnum in the forest has blazed with beauty all these years, and we should be the poorer for neglecting it.
‘When caste becomes your nickname, when it makes you an object of derision, and pervades your life as if it were omnipresent, as people say god is, there are embers in your heart that remain alive through a lifetime. These stories are about those undying embers, and about caste as a painful experience. There is no other way to understand, denounce and disapprove of caste’—Ambai
‘Often, as I read this wonderful collection of dalit stories, I saw the resurrection of birds. Some that we know, and some we have forgotten’ —Ali Cobby Eckermann