“Contrary to popular belief, rain’s greatest enemy is not the rapid felling of trees. Nor is it rising global temperatures, the burning of fossil fuels, or even that telltale hole in the air up there. The single biggest enemy of rain is a person by the name of Gopi. He still lives in our little town and he still hates the rain.”
The eponymous story in Manu Bhattathiri’s The Greatest Enemy of Rain details one man’s lifelong conflict with rain. When he is seven, Gopi’s first day of holidays is ruined by unexpected rain. He raves and rants, prays to and petitions the gods, starting a feud that becomes the mainstay of his life. He falls in love against the backdrop of rain. His life and all its tragicomedy are punctuated by the rain. When he dies, the narrator tells us, it is sure to rain “big, warm droplets.”
This delightful little story with its humour and whimsey and its dark kernel of social critique is a perfect representation of a collection that brings on inappropriate chuckles in the middle of excoriating discomfort and is as entertaining as it is a brutally bright spotlight on human eccentricities and social behaviour.
Small town ambiguities
Bhattathiri’s stories do not conform to…