An Overview of Konkani Literature
Damodar Mauzo is a well-known author and a giant figure in Konkani literary circles. He has five short story collections, film scripts to his credit and has won a number of awards including the Jnanpith Award, 2022. He has worked with the Sathiya Akedemi for long years in various posts and positions. Recently, he received death threats from the Sanathan Sanstha for his active role in the struggle for freedom of expression for writers.
This 14 short story anthology titled ‘The Wait and Other Stories’ is his latest work released last month which showcases Goa’s rich cultural vibe and life in varying hues and shades.
Viraj, the protagonist of the main story “The Wait”, is seen in a world apart for his lover whom he has not met for six months. On his birthday, however, his harrowing wait reaches breaking point but some unforeseen developments make both the protagonist and the reader feel like ending the wait.
Barbers are said to be very talkative and informative. It’s because their clients talk to them a lot about who’s who in town and what’s happening to them. To this category belong the drivers of tourist places and places. We meet such a friendly taxi driver in Goa in the story “Yasin, Austin, Yatin”. He is adept at impressing his clients with his speech, mannerisms and fund of information about places in Goa that are worth visiting. As he takes his clients and the reader on a journey, this story reads like a tourist guide. He thus made many business and tourist friends. He shapes his soft language according to the needs and interests of his clients. But one day, this ruse will get him in trouble.
Goa is one of the places where we encounter close intercultural ties and ties between devotees of different faiths, a strong pledge of our unity in diversity. The story, “Burger”, features a devout Catholic teenage girl’s sense of guilt when she shares a beef burger with her Hindu boyfriend at school, not knowing that most Hindus don’t eat beef. The Christian family expect dire consequences from the misstep, but the episode ends on a happy note. Who doesn’t love having fun with the family and traveling to the past? For this reason you enjoy reading the story, “The Jalopy”. Especially its climax, which tells us in a tender way how important it is for a wife and a husband to cement their bond with honesty and openness.
“I Was Waiting For You” is a long story where you find Mini, a young, bold and independent woman, facing and overcoming many problems and obstacles and teaching a bitter lesson to the man who did not support her in the bad times. as she expected.
“Night Call” is the story of a married doctor tempted by a vivacious and willing nurse one night when her doctor husband was away. His “O’Henry ending” definitely leaves many readers disappointed!
Have you ever met a thief in your house at night? In the hilarious story “The Gentleman Thief”, a writer finds a thief in his home, treats him well, and befriends him. The thief continues to frequent the house not to steal anything, but to take the writer where he does not want to be.
Each story in this collection gives you a burst of new storytelling techniques and ideas. A translator can make or break a writer in the target language. But Xavier Cota, an award-winning translator, does his job well in translating this book into English. By serving us a portion of Konkani literature and ethos, Xavier appeals to readers and admirers of Damodar and himself. It makes for a good read, indeed.