Soviet Stationkadavu – A book review
By Dinesh Reghunathan
I remember my childhood very well. My favorite past times were spent with my grandfather. He used to tell these beautiful stories such that in the next few hours, my brother and I would be wandering through the lands of Aesop’s fables and Panchantantra stories.
Soviet Stationkadavu is an amusing & sensible title for Murali Krishnan’s first book. The author Murali hails from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala and Stationkadavu is a place in the city. He is a multitalented person- an AIFF certified football coach, photographer and a story teller. No wonder all the 17 short stories in his book have amazing frames of places and people.
Murali Krishnan is the sort of story teller that takes his readers to the place where his stories occur, making us unknowingly merge into his characters. His stories have lives and his characters could be easily traced among us.
What I loved about his stories is the eye for detail. They add more space to his stories. Colony Of Ants speaks of the racial segregation. He has handled dark humor brilliantly. His masterpiece is Soviet Stationkadavu. The interactions between a Malayali Ravi and Gorbachev will leave you in splits. The way he plots the story is nothing less than a work of a genius.
Murali has a way of inserting twists in the story. You will never feel they are forced; it’s as if you are swimming on a calm river and suddenly you are falling downstream into a pool of mixed emotions. I never once felt that he is violating the reader’s space. Anu and Shyam amazed me and the places he chose for each story and settings were well thought through.
As a reader, I felt that the author must have been one of those invisible characters present when all these stories took place. Damodarettan is a character whom we might encounter multiple times in our daily lives and yet, we would not remember a thing about him. But, Murali doesn’t let you forget his Damodettan. Rishi’s shots were always on target and leave you wondering, what if!
Murali’s stories have a great, modern humor, plucked outright from our day-to-day lives. Characters like Manikandan and Abhay don’t even try to make us laugh. Pombili is a product of caste oppression; he represents the marginalized and tortured community which we fail to see in the daylight. Pombili is always among us, telling his stories to people who are ready to listen.
The only area I personally felt the book could have improved on was in terms of the abrupt ending in a few stories that left me feeling that much more could have happened. However, they are short stories and one should expect them to end soon.
Finishing the book, I wished these stories were translated into English so that non-Malayali readers could enjoy them, too. Murali Krishnan wants to develop his own style and thus stands apart from the crowd. He has started off on his own creative path. I will not be surprised if I see his stories on the big screen in the near future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dinesh Reghunathan is currently pursuing his PhD in cancer epigenetics at Manipal Academy of Higher Education. He is also the co-founder and mentor of various NGOs in his hometown Thiruvananthapuram, that have feminism, social justice and the environment at their core. He spends his spare time cooking, playing or ardently following various sports, petting stray dogs, reading & occasionally putting pen to paper in poetry.