OZHUKKAM VIZHUPPAM THARALAAN — Short Stories: M. Nannan — Compiler; Yegam Pathippagam, 3, Pillayar Koil Street, 2nd Lane, First Floor, Triplicane, Chennai-600005. Rs. 45.

OF THE 10 short stories in this collection, three have bagged the first, second and third prizes awarded in memory of Nannan’s son Annal, who had left an indelible mark in a short span of 36 years. Rationalism being the middle name of the learned compiler, the ideals of Periyar form the basis of all the stories.

Special mention should be made of the prize-winning stories. How a young offender expelled from school and adopted by a woman teacher of the same institution turned over a new leaf to the admiration of one and all is beautifully narrated in the opening story.

Next comes the story of a birdwatcher who comes alive in the pages. The impact on a cross section of the student community elsewhere due to the Kumbakonam school tragedy in which as many as 98 children in thatched sheds were burnt alive in an accidental fire is graphically portrayed in another story.

A grand gesture of Hindu-Muslim unity portrayed by donation of eyes to a blind person as a parting gift stands supreme in this collection.