As the foundations are laid for a temple to rise on the site of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, voices rise from the ground in a small town in central Kerala. She is a judge in a district court, and he a petitioner in a seemingly banal property dispute. But the very first hearing tosses the judge’s life into disarray. The scent of pink Edward roses, the iridescent scales of snakes, the spectre—and science—of vanishing twins. Girls whose feet do not touch the ground. Irascible and comically powerful ancestors. In this illusory landscape are the hard truths about the intertwined histories of Hindus and Muslims in India, as well as the chasms between men and women.
A hypnotic novella by K.R. Meera, deftly translated by Nisha Susan, Qabar echoes with the dizzying knowledge that verdicts are not solutions.