Dipavali Sen
CIRCUS! by V. Madhavan Nair ‘Mali’. Translated by Parvathy Ram Kumar. Cover illustrated by Mistunee Chowdhury Hachette India, 2017, 128 pp., 250
November 2017, volume 41, No 11

I had missed something in my childhood and that is reading this deeply delightful book. It made delightful reading even at this stage of senior citizenship and revealed depths of understanding of animal and human nature. Though he had enrolled at the Bar, V. Madhavan Nair (1915–94) had a keen interest in sports and eventually took up journalism, editing and publishing and organizing radio programmes. He also had a keen interest in sports and Carnatic music. He wrote for both adults and children, authoring fifty books in all. He was also an excellent storyteller. Circus! was originally published in the 1950s, as a serial in Mathrubhumi Weekly published from Kerala. Parvathy Ram Kumar, grand-daughter of the author ‘Mali’, has translated it from Malayalam to English extending its readership over space and time. Koman Circus company of Thalassery was the loving creation of Master Koman who hailed from Kannur. It consisted of an elephant, a lion, a fox, two chimpanzees, two tigers, seven camels, and seven horses, apart from trapeze artists and other acrobats, and a wily manager named Kelan.

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