Kavery Nambisan


Kavery Nambisan is a surgeon and novelist from India. Born and raised in the rural district of Kodagu in Karnataka, she went to medical college in Bangalore and then did her surgical training in the United Kingdom. She started to write in the early years of her surgical career and has since used the scalpel and the pen with equal facility. Six of her novels were published by Penguin India. The Story that Must not be Told was shortlisted for the Man Asian and the DSC awards and Mango Coloured Fish for the Crossword Book Award. Her surgical career has been largely in rural parts of India and she has served as the governing council member of the Association of Rural Surgeons of India. Her husband, the noted poet Vijay Nambisan passed away soon after the writing of the essay.  She lives in Lonavla, India.

Our little district is only a miniature of the whole—where it was once people for people, it is now people versus people. Every race perceives the other as a threat, and we are no different, pulling, pushing, driving out, wiping off, all in order to retain what we believe is our identity and our right to power.

I look down and see my claws.

Ashamed, I resist this drift. I resist with all my being this selfish driving out of others. Much as I love our isolation, I want to be connected. Not through the vaporous zones of invisible friendships but through heard voices, visible faces, human touch, and that friendliest gesture in the world, eye contact—all the more precious for those of us who do not have smartphones and such. If there is one thing I dearly want in life, it is to be able to sit talking to another person (one person, two, or three, but preferably one) over tea, coffee, or nothing. Talking. Not talking.


Some of my favorite people on earth are in this book,
Dear writers and grand spirits.

Annie Dillard