Namah Tulsi Kalyani…

The AttaGalatta -Bangalore Lit Fest, Book Prize 2017 has announced the short list.


Anees Salim for This Small Town Sea
Penguin Random House

Arundhati Roy for The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Penguin Random House

S.L Bhyrappa for Saakshi

K.R Meera for The Poison of Love
Penguin Random House



Tulsi epitomises the blindness of passion. The sort that we typically associate with the gopikas of Vrindavan. Such obsessive love sees only the idol of worship: breathing him in, dreaming of him always, worshipping him with body, mind and soul.

The loved one is soon bored of such a love. He gets it from every single woman he courts. He loves a hunt and a chase. He values the woman who holds herself back, and taunts him with her haughtiness. Ah, that means she is covetable. If others too covet her affection, that makes her all the more invaluable a prize!

Tulsi is bereft of the tricks of love. She has been invited into love by a Player-God!

What happens when such a love is thwarted and treated with disdain and complacency? What happens when you desecrate what is sacred? And tell her that the  actual pursuit is of another woman, who is ‘ extra ordinary’, and ‘ not like her.’

Is it a tale which rings true only in the precincts of myth? Or do we see such on a regular scale?

The story of the worshipped  – both male and female-who use their powers of attraction for ticking off a virtual ‘ I got her/him  crawling on the knees list’, and then ticking another ‘ Now I am bored with her/him for overwhelming me list’ is playing around us all the time.

You occasionally draw blood with such games. It happens when what was once love, curdles into something frighteningly deadly.

The basil , Tulsi being its cognate, happens to be one herb which would never rot or stink when it dries up. Instead, it remains fragrant, and slowly fritters away, bit by bit.

There is something divine about Tulsi. And her love.