The Watchman by Mrinal Rajaram

Mrinal Rajaram’s The Watchman is a fabulous read. (It was previously published in Sahitya Akademi’s Bi-monthly journal, Indian Literature.)

The Watchman is a short story about Damodaran, a watchman, and a day in his life. We learn about Damodaran, his family and his circumstances along the way. The Watchman is a wonderful read that portrays a lot of emotions in a short space. There is sorrow, anger, frustration, but most importantly it portrays Damodaran and his life brilliantly.

The scenes are what we grew up watching unfold around us. The watchman is a common sight in most apartments here and it is almost always someone like Damodaran. Every apartment has its own Damodaran. The Watchman strikes a chord right from the start. And it was an absolute delight to read, start to finish.

One of Mrinal Rajaram’s strengths is his detailing in writing. I believe that details create a strength that somehow makes the story more brilliant. Details are like colour, you need to get it right to make your work of art pop. And The Watchman is ‘popping’ in that regard. Mrinal Rajaram plays to this forte marvellously. The descriptions of Chennai summers, the apartments or even Damodaran’s living quarters are well thought of and written with care. The emotions in the book are described with a subtlety that is remarkable.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Watchman and I went ahead & read Mrinal Rajaram’s Evicted as well, which was another good read.

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