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Pillai’s style of writing is plain and straightforward but heartwarming nevertheless. There are no concealed connotations, suggestive overtones or confusing philosophies of any sort. Yet in this simple narrative of numerous tales of different people belonging to different communities/ religion and their families, Pillai reveals his great insight into human nature and acute analysis of human character. Story unwinds with advent of renewed land classifications, by the orders of the Royal family, and arrival of a Classifier and his greedy wife in the village. The only source of income was agriculture and all payments were made in kind, especially measurements of Paddy. Deep-rooted customs, rituals and traditional sentiments were the undercurrents holding this society together. Adultery and infidelity, though not socially acceptable were still prevalent and as-a-matter-of-fact things. Free willed marriages, widow remarriage, taking in second husband etc. were all accepted norms. Intercaste marriages were very common, but the rigidity of caste system prevailed by not taking any food at spouse’s place.Corrupt Classifier and his team reassesses lands accepting bribes and other favours. The normal system is disrupted by such irrational land assignments and an imbalance creeps into these families. To add on to it, newer land reform laws of British and introduction of courts for settling disputes create a tumultuous situation as they are highly misused by the knavish.Slowly, this affects generations down the line, and the once affluent families now face penury while the labour class and Christians gain prominence by sheer hard work and European association. All these are recounted through stories of different members of Kodanthara, Mangalaserry, Cheeratta, Seelanthipillil and other such families, Outha Mapilla, Attukkadavil Anthony and their successors representing Christian community andPurakkalathil Abdul Rasak, Pareed etc., belonging to the Muslim families.Stories of Kochu Nair and his son Manikantan disclose the total revamp of Education system and the mad rush for official ranks and government posts. The Novel is very big and takes considerable time for reading. Anyway, the list of main characters is given in the beginning, which is helpful as you cruise along this marathon classic. The complicated long Malayalee names, which are sometimes repeated over several generations, are bedeviling. Also generous use of Malayalam to maintain its originality gives that authentic native touch but would have been difficult to comprehend without the glossary provided at the end.
this story touches upon the sensitive aspect of marriage and relationships.It works as two parallel lines that run side by side.but never meet though they seem to meet at a distance.the story also deals with the social strucuture of kerala and delves into the minds of people to bring us a touching story.
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