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Book Review : Jeevi's look at the twisted, complex world

Book Review : Jeevi
Highlights

Naresh Nunna What he (Kafka) has left us is the half-expressed gasp of a self-doubting soul trampled under�.,' said Edmund Wilson, the critic....

Naresh Nunna sim2What he (Kafka) has left us is the half-expressed gasp of a self-doubting soul trampled under�.," said Edmund Wilson, the critic. Perhaps, a similar gasp is seen and heard by Telugu critics from Ramana Jeevi (Ramana GV), over whose short stories the ghosts of Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges and a few of their peers stand guard. Now, he has come up with a second collection of his short stories, Simhalapeta, posing a fresh challenge, as his first collection of stories, 'vattu dha' did when it released in 1999. 'Samudram', one among the 12 stories of the anthology, is a parable within a short story, narrated in first person by an insane protagonist during the course of his treatment in a mental asylum. With recurrence of a passionate dream on an abundant mass of surging waters, a king of a small province comes to know it's a sea. He dons a revelator and an aesthetic enchanter to his countrymen and calls upon them to dig the sea for realisation of the dream. All sorts of assets of the king and the people, including gold ornaments, transform into iron � including crow-bars and spades. All professions, including Defence militia turn to one labour - the excavation! Minimal harvesting is done only to cater to the daily bread of the labouring people, including the king and also for the fodder of the cattle. The kingdoms in the neighbourhood hackle the mountains of their labour, as if it would be for a silly little mouse. Ramana Jeevi does not exclude himself from the gluttonous society around him. All of his stories seem to be gasping confessions in absurdity by a 'self-doubting soul trampled under'. Thus, with the intense subjective connotations in his narration, the objective reality is not depicted in black & white and therefore his stories are obviously branded with surrealism, magic realism and other bookish blah blahs. Questioning the primal existence and apparent supremacy of human, Ramana Jeevi keeps on craving for biocentrism. So, this avowedly anti-modernist impersonates himself into a protagonist, scientist Yogi (in the story Paryavaranavetta), an exterminator of human race and indulges into a cyber- genocide, unsparing himself and his family. Ramana Jeevi's human editing, in the name of Yogi, results in vacating the earth with a final human count of not more than 6 crore, while saving the equal stacks of all other living beings. These kind of entomological fantasies blended with allegoric reality are also found in a couple of stories of science fiction, with futuristic howls. Another story from which the title of the book is extracted, is more in a Kafkaesque setting, where the narrator in a train have women co-passengers, with ant-heads and human torsos, making a headway to Simhalapeta (Colony of Lions) via Vendi Lokam (silvery terrains). The moral of 'reey Sunkanna' is outrageous since neither good nor evil is actually depicted; but the struggle goes on between two empty outlines. The Gothic setting in 'Akupachcha Illu' depicts grotesque pathos of an imaginative femininity, where the male, tainted by birth, is sacredly killed and eaten, after used merely for reproductive activities. Egiree Papa, the flying baby, is also absurd on its face, uses the absurdity that it generates to distort everyday reality, where the distortion is reflected in many characters, including the girl-child, who does not fly when her ambitious parents desired to get it flaunted. Through his stories, Ramana Jeevi stalks the calm terrains of the readers. Like unexpected breeze, they first scratch the reader's cerebral cortex, then the bewilderment and finally, the sense that the world is unassumingly twisted and infinitely complex! Ramana Jeevi has come up with a second collection of his short stories, Simhalapeta, posing a fresh challenge, as his first collection of stories, 'vattu dha' did when it released in 1999. Through his stories, he stalks the calm terrains A of the readers
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