Moustache - S. Hareesh


S. Hareesh

HarperCollins India

Translated by Jayasree Kalathil

A contemporary classic, mixing magic, myth and metaphor into a tale of far-reaching resonance.

Vavachan is a Pulayan who gets the opportunity to play a policeman with an immense moustache in a musical drama. The character appears in only two scenes and has no dialogue. However, Vavachan's performance, and his moustache, terrify the mostly upper-caste audience, reviving in them memories of characters of Dalit power, such as Ravanan. Afterwards, Vavachan, whose people were traditionally banned from growing facial hair, refuses to shave off his moustache. Endless tales invent and reinvent the legend of his magic moustache in which birds roost, which allows its owner to appear simultaneously in different places and disappear in an instant, which grows as high as the sky and as thick as rainclouds - and turn Vavachan into Moustache, a figure of mythic proportions.

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About the author

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S. Hareesh

S. Hareesh is the author of three short-story collections: Adam, which received the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, Rasavidyayude Charithram, and Appan. He is also a recipient of the Geetha Hiranyan Endowment, the Thomas Mundassery Prize, and the V.P. Sivakumar Memorial Prize. Hareesh is also the author of two screenplays - for the film Aedan, which received the Kerala State Award for best screenplay in 2017, and for the 2019 film Jallikattu, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and won a silver peacock at the International Film Festival of India. Hareesh works in the revenue department, and hails from Neendoor in Kottayam district, Kerala.


Jayasree Kalathil

Jayasree Kalathil’s translation of N Prabhakaran’s novella Diary of a Malayali Madman won the Crossword Books Jury Award for Indian Language Translation in 2019. Her translation of S Hareesh’s Moustache was published by HarperCollins India in 2020. Jayasree is the author of The Sackclothman, a children’s book that has been translated into Malayalam, Telugu and Hindi. Outside literary pursuits, Jayasree is a researcher and activist working in mental health, anti-racism and human rights and has published widely in this area. Originally from Kottakkal, Kerala, Jayasree currently lives in London with her husband, Adley Siddiqi.