Article - the God of Small Things

When the tragic news, of a young British child dying when visiting her distant family in Ayemenem, Kerala, reached London I took the first possible flight to investigate the story. When arriving in Ayemenem I discovered a much deeper story, a much more interesting one. At first a love story between two people may not seem so exciting. But when this relationship broke all laws and all foundations of the Indian society, a beautiful and tragic new world opened in front of me. Something that no one outside their culture will ever really understand, something so different from our own standards and morals.

I arrived here a few days ago with my mind set on the story of the young girl who drowned in the river here in Ayemenem. When living amongst the Indians I realized how different their lives were compared to ours. It was fascinating to just watch them, watch the children play or the old man playing the tabla. Sitting there wondering about the death of the child – not yet knowing how closely related it was to the story that could be my breakthrough. I could clearly see that the people of Ayemenem was upset about something – slowly I realized that it wasn’t about the story I had thought it was.

The caste system in India is probably well known to everyone. But do we really understand it at the individual and at the personal level?

Yes, the story I discovered here in Ayemenem is a love story. But it is so much more interesting than that. What happens when a Paravan has a love affair with a higher-class woman? The Paravan was accused of molesting the women. He was blamed and almost beaten to death. And all this just because of whom he was – an Untouchable. In the caste system, the Paravans are seen as “polluted”, they are not worthy to touch anything that the touchables touched. The Paravans could not change their position in the society – they were who they were born to be. It is said that being a Paravan was the punishment for having been bad in a former life....