Alternate titles: Atujivitham, adujivitam
English title of the translated work: Goat Days.
I had formal teaching in Malayalam only till 3rd grade. However, I had continued reading Malayalam from the newspapers. I had started reading novels since my Harry potter days when I was 14 years old or so. I haven’t read any Malayalam novel prior to this one.
Plot: The book told in first person tells the story of a migrant worker who dreams big and leaves his home, hearth and heart in Kerala for the Gulf, the name attributed to middle east/Arabian peninsula. The story gives startling lives of expatriates behind the urban shine of the Dubais and Sharjahs. The story goes on from the highly contrasting world of Green Kerala and Deserted Arabia. He lands up in a goat farm which was not the job he was promised. The ordeal of men among goats and the goats among men is the backbone of the story. His escape from there takes the latter half of the book.
Style: The story is told in a non-chronological fashion and the language is simple and everyday. However, the poetry is not lost, and the tragedy makes up for any simplicity if at all any. The pain, the love, the longing, the distress, the details of all these are not lost. A worthy winner of the Kerala literary academy award. Relationship between master and slave, shepherd and the goat all strewn into a wonderful modern day human tragedy of life. The human tragedy of the downtrodden who survive like a slave.
Verdict: 4.5/5. A wonderful read of human rights violations at a work place, and the depiction of “skeletons in the closet” of the glittering oil world.
Quotable Quote: “ഏതൊരു മനോഹരമായ കാഴ്ചയും അനുഭവവും പങ്കുവയ്ക്കാൻ കൂടെ ഒരാളില്ലാത്തതാണ് ലോകത്തിലെ ഏറ്റവും വലിയ സങ്കടങ്ങളിലൊന്ന്. ഞാൻ കാഴ്ച പിൻവലിച്ചു കട്ടിലിൽ നീണ്ടുനിവർന്നു കിടന്നു. ഒരനാഥശവം പോലെ… “
Translation: “Any beautiful scene or experience if can’t be shared is one of lives biggest tragedies. I retracted my thoughts and lied down on the cot like an orphaned cadaver…”