Oru Manusyan by Vaikom Mohammad Basheer
About the author .. Vaikom Mohammad Basheer (1908-94) is a celebrated literary figure from Kerala. He was a humanist and spent his youth as a enthusiastic participant in India’s freedom struggle. During his life time, he won many laurels for his literary work. In 1970, he was nominated to the Kerala Sahitya Academy Fellowship. He won the Padma Shri award too. His prominent works are include Mathilukal, Ntuppuppakkoranendarnnu, Janmadinam and Anargha Nimisham. This short story Oru Manusyan reflects his universal humanism.
The story .. The author is the narrator here. He is the main protagonist too. Hr has wandered off to a far-away land where everything is alien to him. Located in a valley, it is inhabited by tall-framed, dour-looking bearded persons, who all make their living through hideous crimes. The author is penny-less, and this adds to his difficulty. He manages to make a little money by coaching very basic English skills to those strangers for whom writing the address in English is a big achievement. He starts is coaching at 7pm and continues it till 11pm. Then he goes to sleep, and gets up at 4pm the next day. By following this skewed routine, he avoids spending money on morning tea and lunch. In the dingy one-cell dwelling that he has rented, his day starts at 4pm, after which he needs to have his tea and his dinner. This unusual routine saves him money. [To be contd]