In 2018 I came across To Die in Benares, a short story collection by K Madavane, translated from the French by Blake Smith and really loved his story Paper Boat.
I wrote him an email telling him why his story moved me so much, and we began a correspondence about writing, our favourite authors, including Genet, creativity and what it means to be a writer.
When I told K Madavane I was working on the anthology Period Matters, he was very intrigued. He told me a story about his own childhood encounter with menstruation which our conversation had triggered. When he accepted to write a piece of short fiction for the book, I was thrilled, particularly because it was about an aspect of the male experience and gaze, which contrasted with the one I had explored in my own short story.
The two short stories, Behind The Braided Coconut Leaves and Hot Mango Chutney Sauce illustrate how menstruation can be approached in fiction, by a male and female author, both from the male point of view, but in very different contexts. K Madavane’s bitter sweet short story is set in Pondicherry and is the story of Guna and his sister.