Sa.Kandasamy says that he cares a hoot for plot. If his stories are not wanted now, they will prove to be records for the future. But don’t underestimate him. He is a Sahitya Akademi award winner! Sundara Ramaswamy was the Guru of budding writers. His ‘Kalachuvadu’ provided a forum for them. But the powers-that-be were indifferent to him. Thilagavathi is a top police officer who has published a few volumes of interesting stories. But they don’t revolve round the police! The case of Usha Subramaniam has been one of a business woman writing scores of stories. Of course they touch the business world. Ambai’s stories are of international standard. But her time is mostly consumed by her feminist outfit of Sparrow.
T.Padmanabhan has refused to write novels and has stuck to his lyrical short stories throughout the decades. He even refused the Sahitya Akademi award pinpointing its neglect of the short story. M.T.Vasudevan Nair is a much lionised writer. He has won the Jnanpith award. But part of his fame rests on his film scripts. Kovilan and Nandanar gatecrashed with their soldier stories. Parapurath too joined them. E.Vau’s fame rests on his bureaucratic tales. V.K.N. snatched attention with his short, irritable tales!
Arundhati Roy, Aravind Adiga and Kiran Desai won the Booker for ‘The god of small things’, ‘The white tiger’ and ‘The inheritance of loss’ respectively. While Roy has turned away from novels, the other two are biding their time. Jumpha Lahiri won the Pulitzer for her ‘Interpreter of maladies’, a collection of short stories. It is a chaotic scene here—globe-trotting writers winning this prize and that from here and there and making much noise. It all started with Salman Rushdie. Till then it was quiet waters—with the presiding deities of R.K.Narayan, Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao and their satellites like Nayantara Sahgal, Kamala Markandaya and Prawer Jubwallha surrounding them.