Every day after school, Kala and her friends gather under the neem tree and wait for Nainamma to tell them stories. today Nainamma tells them the well-known folktale about Ookamma and Ookaiah, sprinkling it as usual with her homilies and conveying her world view.
Under the Neem Tree is not just a story about a story set in rural Telangana. In it, two worlds come alive together – the real one in which children make friends, eat, play, watch adults squabble and bully, and the world of Nainamma’s story. And as the story of Ookamma and Ookaiah unfolds so does the everyday life of the children in all its rich detail, drawing readers into a world where issues of work and food are constant concerns. When the story ends, the children roll with laughter. And so does Nainamma.