Saambal Vaanathil Maraiyum Vairavar
Published by Kayal Kavin Books, 16/25, Second Seaward Road, Valmiki Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai – 600041. Price: Rs. 110.
The book is a collection of 12 short stories by the author, who is from Jaffna, Sri Lanka, but now settled in Toronto, Canada. He landed in Canada as a migrant at the age of 16 after the civil war in Sri Lanka made him a refugee and forced him to move from place to place before settling in Canada. The stories narrate his bitter experiences in war-torn Sri Lanka, the countries he moved to, and in Canada as well.
The first story is about Hema Akka, as narrated by an innocent boy who witnessed an incident when she was in love with Sasi, during the time when the India Peace-keeping Force was in Jaffna. It has a tragic end with Hema committing suicide by drowning in a pond.
Koddia [tiger in Sinhala], the second story, is about his experiences in Colombo, attending school with panic and also having a love affair with a Sinhala girl, and to his surprise getting financial help to move out of the country. Two other stories give details of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and use fictitious characters to explain the structure of the militant organisation.
The other stories detail his experiences in Canada and use both real and imagined events and characters. Elango’s stories have been published in Tamil periodicals and he also has a book of verses to his credit. Most of Elango’s stories are a mixture of fiction and reality, and hold the reader’s interest with their descriptions of sex and romance, which notable writers avoid in Tamil Nadu. Perhaps he could also bring in the Canadian or Western influence into his writings in Tamil.