It is the Second World War and Kamala and her brother are removed from their parents' home in Calcutta to the safer environs of their village in northern Kerala. At once an outsider and an integral part of her ancestral home, Kamala struggles to fathom the intricacies of class, caste and language. But surrounded by people like her adoring Ammamma, the servant Sankaran who promises to teach her the crow-language, and Valli who tells her stories of yakshis whose breasts are as big as jackfruits, Kamala soon discovers the joys of growing up as the centre of everyone's universe. As Calcutta fades from her mind like an old dream, while the thudding of the drums at the Para festival, the roar of the velichappadu as he becomes possessed and the songs of the parayankaali dancers become absolute realities of life.
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