After One part woman, Perumal Murugan has been weary of writing about humans it seems. In his introduction of the book Poonachi, he has mentioned the same. Poonachi is about a goat and its life but it is not merely the story of a goat.
An old man gets a tiny lamb which is of the size of kitten. The man who gave the lamb claimed that it is of a breed that gives birth to seven kids. The old man comes home with it to his wife who names it Poonachi in memory of her kitten because the lamb was as small as a kitten. The old couple had to suffer a lot of hardships to look after the lamb without a mother. The wife of the old man tried all the recipes she could use to help the lamb regain strength. Poonachi grows and comes of age and falls in love with Poovan a male goat in the old man’s daughters’s house. Further unveils a heart-wrenching tale of love, loss, hear-break, motherhood, prosperity, famine and poverty.
The book is not a uni-linear story of a goat. Author has tried to bring to light the heartless practice of castrating the male goats after mating as if they are just semen reservoir. Another heartless practice is sacrificing the goats to and eating their meat under the guise of offering. The sufferings of the poor and the discrimination of the authorities are also glimpsed in the book. Poonachi’s attraction towards Poovan is depicted in such a way that the readers would forget that author is telling the love story of two goats.
Author has adopted a subtle style of narration wherein he has pointed out and criticized the injustices but without flagrantly hurting anyone’s feelings or explicitly pointing out anyone’s mistake. The book is truly enticing and enchanting. It stands closer to reality. What have been observed is that for translated books, the language of the translator used to be below average probably in order to preserve the originality of the book. N. Kalyana Raman has done an excellent work on that front and has translated the work pertaining to the craft.