24 July, 2021

Holy Ghosts !

Razor sharp, delightful read

Holy Ghosts !
PAUL Zacharia's a Christian writer. But it's not the sermonising that goes things Christian that marks out hiswith work. Rather, he taunts Christianity, specially the Syrian Christian variety that's Kerala's most affluent segment. Daring it to get back at him, sniping at its guiding principles, pulling aside the well-worn cassocks to lay bare slightly putrid innards.

Brave thing to do. But only those with his clawing sarcasm and disarming humour can make such forays. Zacharia's a master of the short story. Reflections of a Hen, his second collection to appear in English, is like his first, Bhaskara Pattelar , a significant addition to modern Indian literature.

The story A Day's Work is possibly the best portrait ever of a Kerala Syrian Christian. It is a letter written by a rich diasporic Kerala Christian to a nurse who's applied for a job to look after his old mother. Korah Philip John, like all good Christians, is quite fond of his mother, but doesn't have the time to be with her. Yet, scrupulously conscienti- ous, he tells the nurse what she's...

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