Praise the Lord is a soliloquy of Joy, a happily-married Catholic rubber planter. What News, Pilate? are correspondences between Pontius Pilate and Titus Antonius. Though the protagonists are men, their speech reaches us only through the prismatic presence of womenAnsy, Joys wife, and Ruth, Pilates secretary. Here Zacharia risks what Christ never didassign his words only to his male disciples. Pilate conceals his letters from his woman secretary. But women have a thousand ears and no speech ever escapes them. In their pretended passivity they eavesdrop on mens dream talks, false praises and impotent prayers.
These stories explore the logic of deception which animates the vocative. What
news is the Malayali way of asking How are you?. This question is not
meant to elicit a truthful answer. Even if your life is in a mess, thou shalt politely
tell the lie that I am fine. It is an address to the listener or reader
soliciting further communication. Edo reader...Zacharia calls out to you in Malayalam. By
lending his ear, the reader becomes the victim and witness to a lie. Thus he becomes a
During a letter-writing session, Ruth plays a game of pretence with the old Pilate, exposing her pretty leg to him. As punishment, her sandals pinch her feet on her way to witness the resurrection of Christ. And her feet are redeemed only by the touch of Christ. For Zacharia, writing is this leg work.
If Gabriel Garcia Marquez is the best writer in Malayalam, then Gita Krishnankuttys translation proves that Malayalam reads much better when written in English.