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PONNIYIN SELVAN - IV Chapter 46

Discussion in 'Varalotti Rengasamy's Short & Serial Stories' started by varalotti, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    This is the English Translation of Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan, which has been nationalized by the Government of Tamilnadu and hence is in public domain.
    The copyright for this translation however rests exclusively with the author, Varalotti Rengasamy. No part of this work shall be reproduced, transmitted or otherwise dealt with in any form whatsoever except with the express written permission of the author. Quoting parts of the work for the purpose of literary criticism or comments, with due credits to the author is however permissible. The author morally asserts his copyright.

    PONNIYIN SELVAN PART IV

    THE CROWN

    Chapter 46 –The Boat Moved Away


    Vandhiya Thevan was coming towards the Prince and Nandini from one side while Manimekalai came from the other.

    She was almost running towards them repeating the words “Akka, lunch is served.”

    Karikalan looked in both the directions.

    “Nandini, it was not just Vandhiya Thevan who wanted to prevent me from coming to Kadambur. A Vaishanvite by name Azhwarkkadian too advised me against this visit. And to cap it all, the Chief Minister, my father’s best friend and a person whom I worship also gave a similar warning.”

    “Chief Minister Aniruddhar is your father’s best friend. And that’s why he wants to take your father’s life. You worship him. That’s why he wants to be doubly sure that you don’t get the Crown.”

    “But why?”

    “The Chief Minister thinks you are short tempered and immature. He thinks that you are an atheist, or at least a person who does not have enough devotion. He has a long range plan.

    "He wants your brother to ascend the Chozha throne. And then he will convert him to Vaishnavism. Very soon Vaishnavism will become the religion of the State. That’s his ambition. But when your brother went missing on the high seas all his plans were spoiled.”

    “But why should all of them prevent me from coming to Kadambur?”

    “I am the only one who knows what’s in their minds. They may be afraid that I might tell you everything.”

    “How do you know what’s there in their minds?”

    “Your Majesty has forgotten the fact that I happen to be the sister of that Vaishnavite fanatic Azhwarkkadian.”

    “Are you really his blood sister? Do you want me to believe that story?”

    “I never believed that story myself. I don’t want you to believe that either. I grew up in his father’s house. That’s why he calls me his sister.

    "He used to say that I am an incarnation of Andal, one of the twelve Azhwars. He wants me to go with him from place to place singing the compositions of Azhwars and spread Vaishnavism.”

    “Did he want to make you a Vaishnavite Nun like there are nuns in Buddhism?”

    “No, it’s worse. He wanted to marry me. And wanted to travel around as a couple singing devotional songs. He also wanted me to bear many children for him all with a view to propagate Vaishnavism.”

    “Oh My God! Where is that monkey-face Thirumalai and where are you? Did he really want to marry you?”

    “That’s my bad luck, Prince. Perhaps I was born at an inauspicious time. Any man who comes near me does so only with a lustful motive.”

    “Why do you want to accuse all men simply because of what the old man Pazhuvettaraiyar did to you?”

    “Lord, I beg you, please don’t talk ill of Pazhuvettaraiyar in my presence. He fell in love with me. And he married me. It was a lawful wedding. He made an orphan girl his Queen. He made me live in a palace and enjoy the royal privileges.”

    “But what do you want, Nandini? Do you really love him? Have you really accepted him as your husband? Then. .. . then.. ”

    “No! I am deeply indebted to him. That’s all. It’s just gratitude and nothing more. We are not living as man and wife.

    "Prince, you should understand that I was born in a poor family and was abandoned by my parents. I gave my heart only to one man. I will never take it back or give it to another.”

    “Who is that lucky fellow, Nandini? No, you need answer that. But answer this question- Who are you? If you are not my father’s daughter, if you are not my sister, and if you are not Azhwarkkadian’s sister, then who are you? I’ll be grateful if you just answer this question, Nandini. Please. If I don’t know the answer to that question I am afraid I’ll lose my mind.”

    “I am dying to tell you, Prince. But see your friend and my friend have come very near. I’ll tell you when we meet next.”

    Nandini spoke to Vandhiya Thevan who had reached them:

    “What is this? Your hands are empty? What happened to the tiger’s head?”

    “Devi, I am not fortunate enough to place the head of tiger at your feet.”

    “Is this valour? You used to sing songs about your ancestors. You used to sing that your forefathers planted the heads of the Three Great Kings, the Cheras, Chozhas and Pandyas on the field instead of paddy saplings.”

    “What is that song?” – The Crown Prince was curious.

    “Are you going to speak or shall I do it for you?” –

    There was sarcasm in Nandini’s voice.

    “Devi, I don’t remember telling you about such a song.”

    “You have forgotten. But I have not. Listen.

    Making the fallen army a natural manure
    With their flowing blood doing the function of water
    In the field of dirt ploughed by the elephant
    The Vaana King, the best of Royal blood
    Planted the heads of the three emperors
    The Cheras, the Chozhas and the Pandyas.

    Nandini was in a devastating mood at that time.

    “My Lord, how is the song? You beheaded just the Pandya King. But this man’s ancestors plucked the heads of all the three emperors and planted them in their field as if they were saplings.”

    Nandini succeeded eminently in her mission for there was fury and disgust on the face of the Crown Prince.

    “What a ghastly agriculture!” And then he broke out into a loud laugh more to hide his disgust.

    Vandhiya Thevan did not have the courage to face his employer. He had to take enormous efforts to steady himself

    He spoke to Nandini in a hesitant voice:

    “Devi, I have never talked about that song to you.”

    “So what? If you don’t know about the glory of your ancestors it’s time to learn. Having come from a clan which used the heads of emperors as saplings in agriculture you can’t bring the head of a wounded tiger. Shame on you!”

    “What can I do, Devi? The wounded tiger is dead. I don’t want to behead a dead tiger.”

    “How did that happen? I saw the beast slowly getting into the boat.” The Prince was surprised.

    “It was I who showed that to you, my Lord. It got into the boat, lied down and then died peacefully. Perhaps it would have felt guilty that it had hurt the Junior Queen of Pazhuvur.”

    The Crown Prince cooled down.

    “It could have died in water. Why did it get into the boat?”

    “Perhaps, it’s also like me, Your Highness. Afraid of water. Of all the ways of dying I dread dying in water.”

    “But a short while ago you jumped courageously into water? Perhaps you have so much of compassion for this silly girl.”

    Nandini was not yet finished.

    “Devi, honestly, I am more afraid of women than water. I jumped in because the Prince ordered me to do so. Only now do I realise that I need not have jumped at all.”

    “Yes, yes. Now I remember. You are afraid of falling in water. You are never afraid of pushing somebody into water and drowning them.”

    Nandini was cleverly alluding to the drowning accident involving Arulmozhivarman.

    Manimekalai did not like the way the conversation proceeded. And that clearly showed in her face.

    “Akka, the food is getting cold. Come let’s go.”

    All the four started to walk towards the Mandapam. Manimekalai stole a few glances at Vandhiya Thevan. She knew intuitively that Vandhiya Thevan was in trouble and that the Prince and Nandini are somehow the reason for it.

    “Let the whole world oppose you. I’ll be on your side, my dear. Don’t ever worry.”

    She wanted to tell these words through her eyes if only Vandhiya Thevan looked at her. But Vandhiya Thevan did not look at her even once. He was lost in his own world of grief.

    Nandini’s treacherous words, the great charge she levelled on Vandhiya Thevan must have shocked and repulsed the readers. That is quite natural. But if only we get to know her better we won’t be shocked.

    The qualities of a man or woman largely depend on heredity. They are also greatly influenced by habits and circumstances. Mandhakini who was dumb and deaf lived mostly in the forests.

    She had to be extremely careful for she was virtually living with the wild animals. At times she had to mercilessly kill those animals to save her life.

    Her mind was as pure as the milk for a long time. And then the sweet elixir of love was added to that milk when she met her first and only love in her life, Sundara Chozhar. But soon the fountain of love went dry and her life became as dry as a desert.

    She was disappointed when Destiny played a cruel game in her life. The shock was so much that at one point of time she almost lost her sanity.

    But as time passed on, the wounds in her heart healed. Love came into her life for the second time.

    The enormous love she had for Sundara Chozhar soon metamorphosized into a motherly love for his son, Arulmozhivarman.

    Nandini was Mandhakini’s daughter. She inherited almost all the traits of her mother. But the world was even more harsh to the daughter than the mother.

    Nandini was abandoned at birth by her mother. She grew up in a stranger’s house. She suffered more from human beings than her mother, from the wild animals of the forest.

    When she was insulted and ridiculed by the children of the Royal family, her heart hardened. All her ill-feelings crystalized into hatred - harder than a rock and more lethal than the world’s deadliest poison.

    If only she had had some love in her life the hatred in her mind would have been to that extent diluted. She was never blessed with that opportunity.

    Whosoever loved her either ignored and insulted her or died all of a sudden and vanished from her life.

    Those who insulted her and those who were hated by her lived a glorious life. What else do we need to make a girl’s mind turn into poison?

    The only feeling that filled up her mind was a thirst for revenge against those who hated and insulted her. She had a natural ability to scheme – something she had even when she was in her mother’s womb.

    Her life was full of disappointments and grief thanks to which all soft feelings had died an early and ignoble death in her heart. And her heart was as hard as the galvanised steel.

    We had to dwell on this explanation here only to help the readers understand the future course of this story.

    The four people had their lunch in relative silence. It was a kind of picnic lunch and a happy conversation should have accompanied it. But it did not. Nandini, Karikalan and Vandhiya Thevan were lost in their own personal thoughts and grief. Manimekalai was the one who suffered the most. She loved Nandini.

    And she had made elaborate arrangements for the picnic and the lunch only to spend some happy time with the Pazhuvur Queen and play some water-games with her. When the Prince and Vandhiya Thevan unexpectedly joined the party at first she was excited. But then she was put off by the way the three people talked and behaved with respect to one another.

    Manimekalai was gifted with the mind of an innocent child. She soon forgot seeing Vandhiya Thevan holding Nandini in his hand. She even regretted the momentary feelings of jealousy that passed her mind when she saw them together.

    But she could never understand the not so happy conversation among those three people and the frown in the faces of all. She did not understand their conversation let alone like it.

    A few minutes after the lunch was over Manimekalai spoke to Nandini in a listless voice:

    “Akka, shall we go back? Shall I ask the boat to be brought in? Are these people coming with us?”

    Karikalan was shaken from his reverie.

    “Aha! How can we go back without listening to this girl’s music concert? Never. Nandini, have you forgotten or what? Manimekalai, we have been waiting to listen to you. Please don’t disappoint us.”
    Nandini spoke for both.

    “No, Prince, I have not forgotten that. But you and your friend do not seem to be in a mood to enjoy music. You look as if you are standing on a sharp thorn and in a hurry to go. It’s all right. Manimekalai, please bring your Yazh.”

    “Why should I Akka? Why do you force me to play music before those who do not like it?”

    “No, no! Didn’t you hear the Prince? He is eager to listen to your performance. And if his friend doesn’t like music let him close his ears.”

    “Oh My God! I don’t hate music. A boat-woman by name Poonkuzhali sang a beautiful song. I become ecstatic when I think of that song:

    When the sea is still and so is the wave
    Why should the inner sea rant and rave
    When the earth-maid is asleep
    Why should the heart be restless and weep”

    “Some people prefer to hear the songs sung by a chosen few. I am not sure whether you’ll like mine.”

    Karikalan pacified her.

    “I’ll make him listen to your music, Manimekalai. I stand guarantee for Vandhya Thevan. Now be a good girl and bring your Yazh.”

    Manimekalai obeyed. She sat on the top step of the Mandapam. She tightened the strings in the instrument and set the harmony. The instrument had seven strings. Each string could play two notes.

    For a while Manimekalai played the stringed instrument and filled the place with melodious music.

    Music in a way was a kind of powerful magic for within a few seconds Karikalan and Vandhya Thevan forgot all their problems. For a while there was nothing in their hearts except Manimekalai’s music.

    And then Manimekalai sang. At first she confined herself only to some devotional numbers especially the compositions of Saivite saints like Thirunavukkarasar and Sundara Murthi Nayanar.

    The Prince then expressed his desire:

    “Manimekalai your songs are out of the world. But why do you confine yourself to just devotional numbers? You know very well I am not into too much of devotion and spirituality. Whatever devotion to Lord Shiva I had I have given up in favour of my uncle Madhuranthakan. Why don’t you sing a love song for me?”

    Manimekalai’s beautiful cheeks turned blood red. She was a little hesitant. The Prince tried his best to assuage her feelings.

    “Why do you hesitate, girl? Well, if you sing a love song, I won’t think that you have me in your mind. Nor my friend here will have such wrong notions. So please go ahead and sing, Manimekalai.”

    Nandini was quick to intervene.

    “Even if somebody thinks that she sings only for him, Manimekalai would not bother.”

    “Akka! Why are you teasing me in the presence of these men?”

    “The mistake is not in me, Manimekalai. It’s in your thinking. You think that these two people are men. That is fundamentally wrong. How can you consider somebody who cannot even bring the head of a dead tiger as a man?

    "In the good old days the warriors of Tamilnadu used to catch a tiger alive, open its mouth, extricate its teeth and make it as a jewel for their beloved. Those days are all gone.

    "Let’s not worry about that now. You sing, Manimekalai. You sang a song to me the other day. That was beautiful. Why don’t you sing that song for these people?”

    Manimekalai played the Yazh and sang simultaneously. When she sang of love there was an additional dose of sweetness in her voice. The rendering was very soft but very touching.

    Is that all a dream, my friend
    The time we spent together
    On the slopes of the mountain
    Besides the waterfalls
    Beneath the shadow of fruit-laden trees
    When he held my hand
    And we were both lost in happiness
    Is that all a dream, my friend
    Or just a thought in my mind

    In the grove of punnai trees
    Under the golden rays of the evening sun
    He called me near
    And whispered words of love
    In my ears
    Is that all a dream my friend
    Is that miracle nothing but a lie?

    Defying all security
    Like a thief he walked in stealth
    And with boundless love
    Held me in embrace
    And smothered me with kisses
    Did it happen?
    Weren’t we happy?
    Is that all a dream, my friend
    Or just a thought in my mind

    Several stanzas followed, each set to a different tune. All the three were drowned in that sublime music. Nandini had made her heart harder than a rock due to various reasons that were peculiar to her life.

    Even she was shedding tears, thanks to the power of music and the emotion in Manimekalai’s voice.

    The Crown Prince forgot this world. Vandhiya Thevan looked at Manimekalai every now and then as if he just recovered from a shock.

    And every time he saw he found that she was looking at him with all the love in the world. Vandhiya Thevan was in for a greater shock. “Oh My God! I have wronged this angel. I have made her think that I am in love with her.” His mind was filled with remorse.

    Being submerged in the world of music and emotions they did not notice that the wind was becoming stronger and stronger. They did not see the small wavelets in the lake had grown into large waves.

    They did not notice that the breeze had become a wind and the wind had become a storm.

    Only when a huge tree was uprooted by the force of wind did they wake up to reality. They saw all the signs of a storm. They saw the noisy waves hitting the shore.

    Nandini was the first to notice that.

    “Oh My God! Where is our boat?” She virtually screamed. The boat was not in its usual resting place. When they looked far into the lake they could see the small figure of the boat being tossed away in water. It was moving deeper and deeper into water.

    “Aiyoo! What can we do now? We are stranded.”

    Nandini screamed again.

    “If you ladies know horse riding please take our horses. We’ll manage.”

    “Are you planning to have us killed, being caught under the huge trees which might fall in this gale?”

    Karikalan was not affected.

    “There is no need to go now. Let us remain here till the storm subsides. What are we going to do at the Palace? See we have enough food. At least we have the materials and utensils. Manimekalai is there to entertain us with her songs. I have never been this happy in the recent past.”

    Vandhiya Thevan was concerned.

    “That’s not proper, Your Highness. What will Sambuvarayar and Kandhanmaran think of us?”

    “I suspect this man should have let loose the boat in the pretext of looking out for the tiger.”

    “Akka, why do you blame him? Even when he came here I saw the boat near the shore. Let us not worry, Akka. My father, when he sees the storm, will send a boat to rescue us.”

    Soon her words became true. A few minutes later two large boats, which from a distance looked like ships, came towards the island. Sambuvarayar was in one of them. He was happy to see all the four safe and happy.

    They boarded the boat.

    The lake resembled an ocean in turbulence. A greater storm was raging in the minds of all the four who were rescued. Sambuvarayar was the only one who remained calm.

    Note: This concludes the Fourth Part of Ponniyin Selvan. There is only one part remaining now. Let me thank every one who was with me in this journey. A special thanks to knot2share for painstaking efforts in editing my drafts.

    Please give me some time. I am toying with several options regarding the Fifth Part. Please pray that soon the whole novel should be in the form of a book in your hands. I will start the project soon.

    love,
    varalotti

    Original Author: Kalki
    Translation: Varalotti Rengasamy
    Editing Support: knot2share

    © Varalotti Rengasamy aka R.Sridharan,MADURAI
     
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  2. swt.charu

    swt.charu Platinum IL'ite

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    :clap :clap:clap

    Wow !!! beautiful...hearty congratulations Sridhar for completing the fourth part...Its no mean task to undertake such a huge responsibility and deliver successfully taking great effort relentlessly..I am a regular to the fiction stories in IL and notice that the writers start off with great enthusiasm but somewhere down the line cannot manage to put up the next episode as promised. They either end up completing the story in a hurry or shut the project down.

    Ponniyin selvan on the contrary has been running now for "years" .... week after week... month after month..

    I repeat this is no mean feat !!!

    Many thanks to you Sridhar for your patience and perseverance. But for your continued effort and dedication we would not be enjoying this treat week after week.. Wednesday has become a special day for me now and will remain that way for the rest of my life... even after you successfully complete the part 5 .. the sweetness will linger for the rest of my life..

    I sincerely pray that you should soon release the translation as a book... rest assured, I will be the first in queue to grab it (hope I get the opportunity to be the first :hide:)

    May God bless you with Love, joy and good health !!!!

    So VT is trouble... I suppose he is in real trouble for the first time... he has made a very cruel enemy in Nandini... what sharp words she uses against him??? wonder why karikalan lets her do that ?? so disgusting..

    Hope VT remains safe..
     
  3. cvvamsi

    cvvamsi Bronze IL'ite

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    Is this it? Is this the ending of the Fourth part. The story of Nandini is still not revealed completely.

    Thanks Sridhar for taking the time to translate the story. It was a great time for an year to follow your story here.
     
  4. Sriniketan

    Sriniketan IL Hall of Fame

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    All the best Sridhar :thumbsup:
    If any words that would suit 'thanks' fill it up Sridhar. I am at loss of words to appreciate your efforts in this mammoth task.
    Great work done by you and knot2share.
    Thank you both once again, othewise I would have not read PS at all.

    Sriniketan
     
  5. swt.charu

    swt.charu Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,

    have you thought about when you would to proceed with part 5 yet ??? eagrely waiting for your update.
     
  6. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sridhar,

    Congratulations for translating successfully and this far. Only one more part?! How the time flew. I still remember how thoughtful you were about translating such a massive novel! Great work thus far and I am sure it will be excellent till the end.
    Special congrats to K2S! Behind the scenes, she has given the sheen to your wonderful words.

    I feel very sorry for the position VT is in. I wonder if he will extricate himself from Nandini's vicious web.
    Though the title is Ponniyin Selvan, we did not see much of Selvan thus far. VandhiyaThevan comes across as the hero. He also has two great women characters in the novel falling for him!! Time for the prince to wake up and come, want to really get to know him!!

    Waiting for the last part of the novel to unfold!

    L, Kamla
     
  7. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks a lot, Charu. I was very hesitant to touch this project because of the sheer size which to me appeared quite formidable.

    But somehow I took up the project though my friends advised me against such "foolhardy decisions."

    It is only because of Kalki's narration that my style improved a lot. Lalitha is not tired of telling that my style after PS is better.

    And I will have to thank you very specially for you were one of the very few who was with me throughout the journey.

    I am not very sure about the Fifth Part. Every one who translated and made their work available on line stopped with the third. I went up to the fourth. Once I finish my work in hand I'll have to open talks with my publishers about the project and then start working on the modalities.

    Many publishers are averse to take up the project if the entire content is available on line.
    But I'll make the full set of all the five copies made available free of cost to those who have been regular in these pages. And in that you'll stand first in the list, Charu.

    thanks for being with me.

    love,
    sridhar
     
  8. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    You are most welcome,

    regards
    sridhar
     
  9. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    It is only in the Fifth Part that all the knots are untied, including that of Nandini's birth and future.
    You are most welcome. This project has been going on for three years.
    thanks for joining me.
    sridhar
     
  10. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    thanks a lot sis for your continuous participation. Well I took all these efforts because of people like you who were keen to read my writings.
    thanks once again
    sridhar
     

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