Two Short Stories by Thi.Janakiraman

Wanted to read stories by Thi. Janakiraman, after writer Baskar Sakthi recommended him, for the natural dialogues he writes.

Kuzhandhaikku Jooram (The Child Has Fever)

The story of a poor scholar, who has to depend on the money from a well-off publisher, who tries to cheat him. We are shown through flashback that the scholar had an earlier face-off, at the end of which, he had pledged not to see the publisher again. But, fate pushes him to visit the publisher’s house to ask for money to treat his ailing son.

But, when the scholar reaches the publisher’s house, there is a crowd. The publisher’s wife is unwell. The scholar goes out of his way to save her, by bringing along a doctor, helping to take her to the hospital, bringing the doctor back to his house in a taxi (which is partly paid by the publisher) and finally he decides to walk back to his house, not having enough money to afford a bus travel.

The story ends beautifully with the sound of laughter that the scholar hears in the dead of the night. He turns around and finds a jutka horse. Realizing his folly he walks away into the night, laughing at himself. Loved this ending! Bcos it can also be seen as the scholar laughing at his own naive deeds of the past.

Mul Mudi (Hair with Thorns)

This story is about what happens when a sincere teacher in a village school retires. His students love him and give him a moving farewell. The people of the village respect him. His wife admires him for having not inflicted hurt upon any student, during his entire career.

Just at this moment, one his students enters the house with another student and his parent. And then we get to know that during one of his classes, the teacher had asked the students of his class not to talk to one of their peers, because he stole someone’s property. And the students, out of respect for their teacher, follow it for more than a year. As a result, this boy becomes lonely and begins to have emotional problems.

The story ends with the teacher asking the students to start talking once again with the boy. And with the guilt of the teacher as he looks up at a photo of Jesus Christ with the crown of thorns (the Mul Mudi).

Perhaps, the story is trying to say that it is humanly impossible to live without inflicting pain or misery on any other human. There is a high chance that something we do out of good intentions might cause unexpected consequences, even without us being aware of it.

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