Shazia Salam
SAYANI NANDINI (NO NONSENSE NANDINI) by By Aparna Kartikeyan. Translated by Arpita Vyas. Cover design by Tanvi Parulkar. Edited by Seema & Bharat Tripathi Karadi Tales, 2022, 84 pp., INR 90.00
November 2023, volume 47, No 11

Sayani Nandini is a heartwarming story of courage and hope. We are introduced to Nandini, who resides with her parents, siblings, and her supportive grandmother. Life in Sivagangai is incredibly challenging, with her parents working tirelessly in the paddy fields day in and day out to make ends meet. Nandini, a bold and adventurous girl, loves going to school and dreams of becoming a Collector. However, a fall that injures her leg and hips leads to poor performance in her math board exams, threatening to shatter her dreams. Nandini refuses to be deterred and keeps her sights set on the future. She eventually moves to the city, enjoying a happy family life until tragedy strikes, and she becomes a young widow.
Returning to her hometown with her two young children, Naresh and Deepa, Nandini embarks on a journey to secure a better future. She starts her own farming business, cultivating vegetables and the fragrant ‘sampangi’ flowers, which are used for garlands and essential oils. However, this endeavour is no easy feat, with mounting debts and numerous challenges to overcome. Despite the exhaustion and time-consuming nature of her work, Nandini finds immense satisfaction in being a farmer.
Sayani Nandini tells us that it requires courage to pursue our dreams, but it’s equally courageous to let go of one’s old dreams, discover new ones, and relentlessly pursue them.