Kesavadev the short story writer
Kesava Dev's stories and characters there in were not alien to Dev. Many a times they were Dev himself or were part and parcel of his life and hence, very often one finds the writer taking sides with his own characters and sometimes his anger and aversion for some of them, comes out in the form of long narrations. Infact, without exception, every story of his retains and reveals, the warmth of life.
"Bhavi Varan" (prospective bride groom) is a touching story of Sarojini who had great ambitions about her bride groom. He should be rich, handsome, learned, respectable etc,etc. She spends the good part of her life dreaming of such a men to marry her but then in a crucial moment, She settles for Konthiannan, a middle aged, unimpressive tea shop owner, Dev tries to give a moral lesson through the story, but the story, escapes out of his hands into one of emotional intensity.
In his story "Bus Yathra" (Bus journey) Kesava Dev writes about the tension and anxiety of Padmanabhan, a clerk in the munsiff's court. He is anxious to get back to office after the weekend holiday. That deprives him from enjoying the holiday. Dev as a special player, to write about the problems faced by the middle class and the lower middle class. He truthfully narrates their domestic problems, financial constraints and social incompatibilities. He maintains austerity of words and subtly, conveys what he has to say in a sensitive manner and that makes bus yathra a final example of Kesavadev's craft and diction.
The story "Pratigna" (Pledge) is about Kalyani who could not fulfill her desire to buy a brass vessel similar to one that her neighbour Nani bought. Envious of Nani, Kalyani pledges upon god that she would buy a brass vessel within a year. Kalyani with all determination tries to save as much to buy the vessel. But unfortunately, her husband Gopalan falls ill and Kalyani's entire savings is spent in his treatment. Kalyani become sad and disillusioned that she is unable to buy the vessel. But at the same time she is happy that her loving husband has recovered from his illness. This story creates in the readers mind an apathy for Kalyani.
Kesava Dev is accused of drug style of story telling and of hard realism.
May be that is true to a certain content, but the can also experience
the soothing of innocent love (cool drink), tender feelings of helplessness
of the middle class (Maricheeni). In short Dev's short stories provide
a strange mixture of hard realism and pure romanticism.