Friday, November 17, 2006

A Natural Question

This Onam, one of the leading periodicals in Malayalam published an interview with an author who writes short stories and has written a couple of novels. The last question was paticularly interesting: "When you write so much about intimate encounters between men and women, the natural question is whether it has anything to do with your experiences".

I don't understand why is this a "natural" question, and wonder if this would have been a "natural question" had the author been a man.

She could have just said that none of your business. But being a woman, and having to live in Kerala among an apparently intellectual society that is sex-starved and moralistic when it comes to women (many woman writers have faced threatening phonecalls and other kinds of threats), she prefers to give the safest answer possible-- a disclaimer that it's got nothing to do with her or anyone else's experiences, and they are completely imaginary.

* * *

I hear that Sithara S, who has written some quality short stories in Malayalam, has gone into silence. She didn't live in Kerala (probably out of the same fear) and was settled in a foreign country. But a woman has to keep fighting those who try to silence her-- either from the society outside or from within the family-- especially if she chooses to express (through writing, theatre.. whatever). I hope Sithara gets back into business soon-- the Malayalam short story scene is really sad.

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