Higuita by N S Madhavan – Study Guide
Higuita is written by N S Madhavan who is known for his short stories, novels, football columns, and travel articles. Contemporary Malayalam literature has received a wide range of works, including his famous novel Lanthan Batheriyile Luthiniyakal. It was his debut novel.
The story revolves around the central character Geevarghese, a catholic priest, who was forced to behave differently to save Lucy, a tribal girl. The author recounts the story by clearly stating that Geevarghese had a great passion for football from his school days.
His father was the physical trainer at his school. Geevarghese was also greatly influenced by sports. From his childhood onwards he was closely observing all games and specifically football. After his father's death, there was a change in his interests. He became more pious and decided to lead a priestly life. Higuita is known in the world of football for his playing style. Even though he was a goalkeeper he enjoyed playing at the other goalpost than staying in his comfort zone. Father Geevarghese stood staunchly for a tribal girl, Lucy. She was facing physical and mental attacks from Jabbar who exploited women from the downtrodden families of Indian states. Jabbar offered a job to Lucy. Jabbar convinced Lucy's family. Jabbar had clear plans to exploit Lucy. She decided to go with Jabbar. She was eventually led into prostitution by him. Lucy found father Geevarghese as her sole refuge. She used to share everything with him after Sunday's mass. Initially, the father advised her to be calm and solaced her by stating everything would be good. Jabbar continued his physical molestations against Lucy. Jabbar found that Lucy had no one to support her. So he continuously tortured her. Jabbar even burnt her body with cigarette butts. Father Geevarghese found that Jabbar physically tortured her. He decided to keep away his cassock and beat Jabbar badly. N S Madhavan narrates this scene as Father Geevarghese aimed at his face and chest of Jabbar and attacked as hard as possible. This could be seen as the transformation of a goalkeeper who decided to be a striker. Father Geevarghese decided to come out of his comfort zones. He reflected on the life of Jesus and fought for the voiceless. The author presented the role changes of Father Geevarghese descriptively. After this incident, Father Geevarghese decided to go back to church very calmly. The reader's mind would be reflecting on the Goalkeeper who came back to his original position after a beautiful strike. N S Madhavan uses the title Higuita to show the transformation shown by father Geevarghese like the Colombian goalkeeper who decided to be a forward. The goalkeeper often stays as a witness in the game. They are always stuck within their circle. Father Geevarghese also decided not to live a life of witness but to act timely for the redemption of the tribal girl. Satchidanandan's Gandhi and Poetry is a modern malayalam poetry that narrates the theme of transformation.