July 7, 2022

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Short Story: Tangled Hair by  Endapalli Bharathi – Translated from Telugu by Sowmya V.B. (Original title in Telugu: చిక్కెంటుకలు/chikkenTukalu )

1 min read

Sowmya V.B.’s translation of Endapalli Bharathi’s powerful short story is a glimpse into the way our perspective towards life changes along with the circumstances around us.

The dasaris (a caste) always arrived in the street holding rattle drums made of coconut shells in their hand, swinging their wrists round and round tactfully.  As soon as we heard the sound of the rattle, we rushed to our elders and pestered them, “Avva (grandmother)! Avva! Look! The dasaris are here. Give us all the fallen hair tangles you collected!”.

Our elders picked up those knotted strands that fell on the floor while combing hair and stored them in the eaves of the roof or between the wooden rafters. We took all the hair they gathered and gave them to the dasaris when they came to our village. They gave us a few balloons and rattles in return, and the rest of our day was spent playing with the rattles and blowing the balloons until our mouths hurt. The village turned vibrant each time they visited us.

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