ஆகாச வீடுகள் (A Home in the Sky is the Title of the English translation) by Vaasanthi was one of the books I was reading in the past week. It is a story that is set in a village amidst a community of people. It is almost like a microcosm. The author has explored the problems, human action and counter action that crop up in this microcosm, albeit from a feminist point of view.
At the two ends of the spectrum are Lalitha and Meenu who approach the same problems differently. Lalitha, Meenu's aunt, is a very patient, loving, forgiving person who smiles even at those who hurt her. Even when she weeps she weeps not for herself but for the other person.
Meenu is the reactive person among the two. She believes that something must be done when injustice happens. At 17 years of age she has a highly developed sense of justice and injustice. And she is not one to quietly watch when injustice occurs. She stands up and speaks against it.
Another fact that came to me through the story is, despite the failings and ill-feelings and gossip among the people in the community, when tragedy occurs they come together as one large family and support one another. Selfishness may seem very rampant. But in times of crisis, they think beyond self and look at the other. It is almost like these times of tragedy are moments when their heart soars in to a higher realm of existence.
This being said, I will explore or simply quote snippets from the book. And I will do my best to translate those for non-Tamil reading folks.
இந்த மனசு ஏன் உயரப் பறக்கமாட்டேன் என்கிறது?
ஓ, பெரிய சுவரல்லவா குறுக்கே நிற்கிறது?
இதுதான் கண்ணை மறைக்கிறது, வெட்கத்தையும் மானத்தையும் மறைக்கும் சுவர். அன்பை மறைக்கும் சுவர்.
Why isn't the heart able to fly high?
O, isn't there this big wall that is blocking it?
This is what is blinding the eyes. This is the wall that screens self-respect and dignity. The wall that blocks love.
"இத்தனை சின்ன வயசுக்கு நீ ரொம்ப யோசனை பண்றே, மீனு! ரொம்ப யோசனை பண்ற மனசு ரொம்ப துக்கமும் அனுபவிக்கும்."
"You think a lot for your age, Meenu! A mind that thinks a lot will experience a lot of pain."
I could relate to that!
"எங்கப்பா அடிக்கடி சொல்வார் மீனு, இந்த உலகத்திலே எதைக் கண்டும் நாம வருத்தப்பட வேண்டியதில்லே, மனுஷனுடைய அஞ்ஞானத்தைக் கண்டுதான் வருத்தப்படணும்பார்!"
"My dad used to say often, Meenu. We shouldn't be sad looking at anything in this world. Only man's lack of wisdom should sadden us."
There were many other things that appealed to me in the book. However, I don't want to get in to all the snippets in this post. Besides, it will take me a long time to search for those in the book.
Click here to read the blurb of the English Translation and possibly purchase it.