Crows Know is a collection of stories written by Srinath Girish

The title of Srinath Girish’s latest book Crows Know hints at the mysterious and the fantastic. Perhaps it is as it should be, for it is a collection of short stories – one that captures castles in the sky.

His first book, Just Black And White, contrary to what it suggests as a statement of facts, is, in fact, a humorous and insightful recounting of his experiences as a lawyer – yes, Srinath is a lawyer by profession, albeit a writer by choice. Strangely these roles have come to him by accident – quite literally! And providentially too, for if it was a road accident that proved the catalyst for him to go off tangent from a career in management to law. It was a spontaneous offer to publish from friend and fellow-lawyer, Narayanan, under his banner, EK Books, that initiated Srinath Girish as an independent author of books.

Srinath describes the stories in Crows Know as “mixes of my own experiences, experiences of others and pure fantasy.” Is there anything autobiographical about the stories? “No story is purely autobiographical or fantasy.”

Srinath started writing, rather blogging, in 2006. Sulekha.com was his main platform. Enthusiastic response from readers proved to be the major source of inspiration for Srinath to write further. In fact, his publisher Narayanan too, was a steady follower of his blogs. “I am addicted to reading novels since early childhood. I read about a 100 novels every year both in English and Malayalam. So maybe the writing is a necessary release for all the words that are crowded into my mind!” laughs Srinath, as he further explains his motivation to write. “In the initial stages, I used to write quite a lot, working late into the night when the Muse struck me.”

The stories in Crows Know were randomly written over a period of about five years. When the idea of putting together a collection came up, Srinath picked 20 of his tales and rewrote them. Dalliance with nostalgia about a game of chance with peanuts for prize in the village market and its parallel to gambling at the roulette in a foreign casino is an unusual story. An old shaving brush, which is the only connection of a son to his dead father, and the father’s soul that hopes for salvation through an indication of love from his son is a unique story, poignantly told.

In all of the stories ‘Anand’ is a name that recurs. Explaining the reason, Srinath says: “Anand is not modelled on any particular person. You will note that he is a different person in each story. In one, he is a doctor, in another a geologist...he also plays different roles in different stories – a hero in one, a side character or villain in another, his name just mentioned in passing in yet another. It is just an experiment I am trying out. Anand, however, is a name I like. I had a very close friend from school days, who died a couple of years ago. So when I needed a name to use for my experiment, I chose that.”

Each story is preceded by a few lines in verse written by Srinath. The illustration on the cover too has been done by him. All of which indicate that he is a man of many talents.

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