And now, in her thirty-sixth year, Alamelu, neither beautiful nor attractive enough to enlist sympathy, lay dying Palanichami leaned her more comfortably against his chest and straightened her sari.' As the daughter of a Vaishnavite scholar dies in the arms of a coarse but kindly salt seller; in a different time and place an actor, from the days of the silent movies, steps out of his home for the first time in thirty years. In this collage of seventeen stories, S. Diwakar weaves in and out of different perspectives, time periods, and characters to explore grief, hope, passion, and alienation. Translated with artistry and exactitude, the writer's use of irony underlines pathos in a deceptively informal telling of the awful and the heroic. S Diwakar is an unusal Kannada writer who blends the concerns and styles of Navya writers with the Navodaya trend of telling the story of commoner.