Love transcends barriers of language and time. Monuments like the Taj Mahal speak volumes on eternal love. So are the characters penned by renowned authors of all time.

Pareekutti and Karuthamma, the countryside characters from Gods' Own Country, live in the hearts of thousands of aficionados of art and literature. It is not known whether Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai did think of taking his characters for a global tour from the shores of Purakkad in Alappuzha when he penned `Chemmeen.' The cinema, evolved from Thakazhi's novel, shot to fame across the world several decades ago. Now, the novel itself is on a tour to France.

A translation of `Chemmeen' in French is well received by the lovers of fiction among the French readers. The book `Chemmeen - un amour indien' has been made available in France through the efforts of publisher Raj de Condappa, a French national who has an Indian lineage. His publishing company, Kailash Editions, has presented quite a few gems of Malayalam literature. These include L'histoire de ma vie of Kamala Das.

Mr. Raj is on the lookout for interesting books written by famous Malayali authors. He is keen on taking up translation of works depicting the facets of Malayali life and the ones that have left an indelible mark on the literature in this part of the country. "It's my tribute to Malayali culture," says the publisher who is also interested in developing tourist resorts in exotic places.

The French translations are available at Mattancherry, frequented by tourists from France and other countries. "There are frequent enquiries for these books from the French visitors," says Shyam Kumar, proprietor of Idiom Booksellers, Mattancherry. Apart from Thakazhi and Kamala Das, translated work of C. Radhakrishnan is available, but currently out of stock, according to him. These books are prized collections to the French tourists who want to know more about Kerala and its cultural heritage, he adds.

R. Ramabhadran Pillai