April 02, 2011


Title : The Story That Must Not be Told
Author : Kavery Nambisan
Publisher: Penguin Books India (2010)

About The Book:
Simon Jesukumar is an ageing widower with a child-like mind. For instance, he actually thinks he can do something to help those who live in the slum – Sitara -- next door to his apartment block in Chennai.

That his neighbours in the apartments hate and fear the slum-dwellers is no help. Simon’s friendship with Velu, his errand boy, and the strangely gifted Thatkan makes him curious and bold. He visits Sitara – which embarrasses all concerned – and gets to know people who are doing something about anything: Swamy the schoolteacher who is also the butcher; ‘Doctor’ Prince who fudged his degree; the belt-buckle factory owner who employs children to melt brass; Tailorboy with thirteen fingertips to please women; and most terrifying of all, Nayagan, the Leader, affectionately called The Merciful Diamond, whose party leaders see in Sitara only a few thousand votes. Simon finds out that these people are not so very different from those who live in his own world, and they all want the same thing....

Set in a militantly modernising city, this story bristles with militantly modern characters: the journalist without ideology, the daughter without values, and the denizens of Sitara.

At the heart of our urban problem is Simon’s dilemma: How can the well-off help the poor? Should they at all? This is a story that must not be told, because there is a question here which must not be asked. 

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About The Author:
Kavery is a Baccalaureate in medicine and surgery, St John’s Medical College, Bangalore and has done Fellowship at the Royal College of Surgeons, London

She has done most of her medical and surgical work in rural India and is on the governing council of the Association of Rural Surgeons of India who believes in taking good quality care at a low cost to the ordinary people.

Currently, she works at a medical centre for construction workers and a Learning Centre for their children, in Maharashtra. (

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