What the Rains Foretold relates an origin myth of Kerala and its people. N. Mohanan’s work is an introspection into the mind of the protagonist, Vararuchi, and the tragic arc of his life. Young Vararuchi was an accomplished scholar, who sought to challenge destiny and overturn its writ. He was offered the coveted seat of the Royal Pundit at the King’s court, but demurs and declares he wishes to pursue the truth.
On hearing a prophecy that he is destined to marry the child of a Pariah couple, Vararuchi seeks to subvert fate. Later he marries Panchami, the beautiful and accomplished young daughter of a Brahmin, but learns she is the same child. They have twelve children, who are forsaken at his bidding as he pursues his quest for knowledge. The children grow into fine young people from different walks of life—religion, warfare, the arts and crafts—to become the progenitors of Kerala, a land that thrives with prosperity and contentment. The conclusion that blends repentance and forgiveness provides a cathartic resolution.
This elegant translation makes an age-old tale accessible to a wider audience, as well as reveals the soul-stirring questions beneath the timeless story.