Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Chapter 42 – Is this your friendship?

Vandiya Devan’s first impulse was to save Kandan Maran’s life but he had to take care of this murderous guard first. He sprang forward and held the guard by his throat from behind and wrestled his arm, making him drop the fire log. The fire log fell down burning low, while the guard struggled to release himself from Vandiya Devan’s steely hold. Vandiya Devan held the guard tightly and then banged his head on the wall whereupon he fell on the ground with a thud. Vandiya Devan immediately took the fire log and went near the unconscious guard (who looked as if he was dead). Not sure whether he was dead or not, Vandiya Devan secured his arms with his upper cloth quickly.

Next he ran to his friend who was lying half way across the doorway with the guard’s knife stuck on his back and his spear lay near him. Vandiya Devan stepped outside and dragged him outside the door and took his spear in hand. The doorway to the underground passage closed automatically. Hoisting his friend on his shoulders, he turned around to see where they had emerged. A rushing stream was passing was very near him and the ground was wet and muddy. A few steps more, they would have fallen into the gushing kauveri river that ran along the fort.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Chapter 41 - The Underground Chamber

Vandiya Devan climbed down the steps slowly. After a while, he reached level ground but there were a few feet steps... As the path wound endlessly, he wondered how long he would have to roam in the dark.

Suddenly he saw a very dim light somewhere... he wondered if there was a window through which moonlight was beaming in or if there was a lamp, kept hidden in a corner.

'No! It can't be! Am I imagining things? Have I gone mad? How can this be? Is this even possible?'

Monday, 23 June 2014

Chapter 40 - The Dark Palace

It is now time to find out what happened to Vandiya Devan, who had vanished. The young warrior had hidden himself near the dark palace when the mandiravadi had come. He first tried to overhear the conversation between Nandini and the mandiravadi, but he couldn't hear a word and nor was he keen on it. He knew that he was losing himself slowly to her beauty and felt that It would be better if he just left the place, without meeting her again.

He instinctively felt that she was more dangerous than all the Pazhuvetarayars put together. In their presence, his mind worked well, and he could use his sword, as well as his brain, which was sharper than his sword. But in front of this seductress, he felt that his sword might slip from his hand; his brain refused to think; he found himself wanting to agree to whatever she said. And if that were not enough, she had got a mandiravadi to help her out. God knows what magic tricks the has taught her...

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Chapter 39 - Swirling World!

Periya Pazhuvetarayar and Nandini

Pazhuvetarayar knew very well that many people had criticized and commented about his getting married to a young woman, at the age of sixty. He was also aware that Princess Kundavai was one of them.

But no one had dared to tell him what exactly Kundavai had said. When he heard it from Nandini, he began to burn with anger. His eyes turned red and his voice hoarse. "My beloved, did that heartless beast say that? She called me an old buffalo, did she? Wait and see what I do to her. This buffalo is going to stamp her like a worm..." spat Pazhuvetarayar, unable to speak further.

Nandini tried to calm him. She took his hand in hers and entwined her fingers in his.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Chapter 38 - Nandini - The Seductress

It was past midnight, when Pazhuvetarayar finally headed back to his palace. As he rode back fast, he was full of remorse for having shouted at his brother. He knew deep down that his brother was devoted to him.

"Maybe that's why he took the liberty of saying such things. But he has such a suspicious nature, why should he blame Nandini of all the people? Such is human nature. He wanted to cover up his mistakes, so Nandini became his target. That wicked youth escaped thanks to his foolhardiness and he goes around blaming his own sister-in-law!"

"Anyway since he has apologized, it is no use thinking about all that. But could it be true? What if it is true? Am I really becoming a womanizer after all these years? And I really don't know many things about her past. Am I being fair to my brother? After all, he was the one who has stood by me all these years, and fought along with me in so many wars. Why should I be so partial to her anyway? Sometimes even I get suspicious about her...

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Chapter 37 - Clash of Lions

The people of Thanjavur held the Pazhuvur brothers in special regard. It was thanks to them that their old city had become the capital of the kingdom and had gained importance.

It was but natural for people to throng to the streets whenever there was a procession but whenever Periya Pazhuvetarayar left the town or was returning home, people would gather in the streets to watch the spectacle because it was customary for his brother Chinna Pazhuvetarayar to go up to the fort entrance to welcome him.

And when they meet, both the brothers would embrace each other lovingly and then their procession would proceed towards the royal palace. The Thanjavur crowd loved to watch this spectacle. Many compared the brothers and their love for each other to that of Rama and Bharatha, or of Bhima and Arjuna.

But that day when Periya Pazhuvetarayar came back to the fort, his brother did not come to greet him, nor did people throng the street to watch the procession. Sensing something wrong, Periya Pazhuvetarayar went to his brother's palace. He intuitively felt that his younger brother was involved in some important work, which was why he couldn't come to the entrance to welcome him.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Chapter 36 - Do You Remember?

Ravidasan - The Mandiravadi
Nandini came out of the lata mandapam and clapped her hand thrice. At the farthermost corner of the garden, the real mandiravadi stepped out, from behind a tree.

Nandini went back to the lata mandapam and sat on her couch with a peaceful expression. Mandiravadi entered the mandapam and in the light of the lamps when we see his face, it looks familiar! Yes we have seen him in Thirupurampayam! Near the Pallipadai! He was one who had ordered his men to kill Azhvarkadiyan on sight. It was Ravidasan!

When he entered the lata mandapam his face was clouded with anger and his eyes were bloodshot. He sat down at the seat opposite to the couch. Staring steadily at Nandini, he said, "Om, Hreem, Shreem Kreem, Bagavathy! Shakti! Chandikeshwari...

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Volume 1: New Floods -- Chapter 35 - Mandiravadi

They heard the sounds of gongs and conches and the sound of the fort doors opening. Nandini, who was much distracted by the noise, listened intently. Her maid came running inside the mandapam saying, "Amma! The Lord has come!"

"I know. You go back to your place."

She turned to Vandiya Devan and said, "Periya Pazhuvetarayar has returned to the fort. After meeting the king and his brother, he will come here. You must leave before he comes. Give me Azhvarkadiyan's message."

"Devi! That Veera Vaishnavan claimed that you were his sister. Is that right?"

"Why do you doubt it?"

"Would you believe it if I were to tell you that a parrot and a monkey were born to the same mother?"

Nandini laughed and said, "In a way he is right. We grew up in the same family, in the same house. He took care of me like my own brother. He must be very disappointed in me now."

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Chapter 34 - Lata Mandapam

The woman led him through the thick groves of trees. Vandiya Devan found it difficult to keep pace with her. Stumbling in the darkness, he almost collided with a tree. On seeing this, the woman asked him, "What happened? Have you forgotten the way?"

In reply, Vandiya Devan said, "Sshh." At the same time, he heard some noise on the other side of the wall in the place where he was sleeping a little while ago. It seemed as if two or three people were running here and there searching for something. Vandiya Devan laughed softly.

"Why are you laughing?"

"Didn't you hear the sound of people who were searching for me outside the wall? I am just happy that I escaped from them."

On hearing this, the woman was afraid, "Somebody was searching for you?"

"Yes. Otherwise why would I be sitting outside the wall?"

Hearing this, the woman took a good look at him for the first time.

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Volume 1 - New Flood