Mathilukal by Basheer -A Book review

English translation: The Walls.



Plot: Can you love someone whom you haven’t seen, but only smelt and heard. I am not talking about a blind person but two humans separated by walls who could hear and even smell each other. That is the core theme of Basheer’s novel. The protagonist who was in prison at the time of British India, was having an unusual woman for company beyond the walls in a female prison. The short novel or rather this novella revolves around their affair. In this age when online dating, phone chat and pen friend love, it is nothing new to have your hormones all charged up for an unseen person. But, this novel explores those nuances like insecurities and itches in a desperate but doomed love affairs..

Style: A very poignant take from the 40s of how love can transcend walls. The helplessness and tragedy that is involved in every romantic event. Also the most important ingredient in any love story- longing. The simple spoken language written in a colloquial flow is beautiful and an easy read. Apparently the story was written in 3-4 days.

Verdict: 4/5: A great read which would take up about just an hour.

Quotable Quote: “അങ്ങനെ നടക്കുമ്പോൾ ഈ ലോകത്തിൽവെച്ച് ഏറ്റവും മാധകമായ പരിമളം:
സ്ത്രീയുടെ ഗന്ധം! പെണ്ണിൻറെ മണം”

Translation: “And as I walked, I could smell the world’s most amorous fragrance: A woman’s scent, a lady’s odor.”