Monday, 11 July 2016

Chapter 29: Vanathi’s Transformation

Vanathi and Kundavai
Just when Kundavai was about to leave the palace to release Vandiya Devan from the prison, Vanathi appeared before her and bowed respectfully.

“My dearest! I left you and came away… I still have a few affairs to sort out. I will be back very soon until then why don’t you sit in the garden but don’t go near the lake.”

Akka! I have decided not to be a trouble for you anymore. I wish to return to Kodumbalur.”

“What is this? Has everyone suddenly decided to abandon me? Are you angry with me? Why this sudden love for your native home?”

“If I were to get angry with you akka, then I would probably be the most ungrateful creature in this world. I haven’t developed any sudden love for my native home either. What use is a native home when you have no parents? My mother, when she was alive had wanted to perform a puja at the nearby Kali temple in Kodumbalur but she died without fulfilling it. I think if this pooja was performed at the temple, I will stop fainting thus…”

“You don’t have to go all the way to Kodumbalur just for this. I can send word to them to perform the puja.”

“That’s not the only reason why I wish to go to Kodumbalur. I heard that my uncle Periya Vellar is marching towards Thanjavur. He will not come to Pazhaiarai to meet me as it would be out of the way but I want to meet him at Kodumbalur and learn all that had happened in Elangai.”

“Why are you so interested in learning about what happened in Elangai?”

“Have you forgotten that my father too died in Elangai?”

“I have not forgotten… but there is no taint to his name now.”

“I doubt that. My uncle led the battle campaign in Elangai but now he is coming back in a hurry without completing his mission.”

“Are you going to ask him to go back to Elangai to resume the war? Is that why you want to meet him in Kodumbalur?”

“Who am I to say these things? I just wish to learn what had transpired there…”

“Aha! You wish to learn more about the brave deeds that Ponniyin Selvan did in Elangai.”

“Is that wrong akka?”

“No. What is wrong is the fact that you are trying to abandon me at a time when I need you more than ever…”

Akka! I am but one of your companions. You have scores of relatives, friends, servants and handmaidens who are ready to fulfil your wishes… How can you say that I am leaving you alone?

“Even you have begun to talk like this Vanathi! I think the news about my brother has addled your mind. You don’t have to worry too much about that news…”

Akka! My worries about him can’t be any greater than yours… you are his sister after all!”

“Tell me truth! Did you fall in the lake on your own or did you faint?”

“Why would I fall into the lake deliberately? I fainted and fell in the lake and you saved me.”

“You don’t seem grateful enough for saving your life…”

“I will be eternally grateful to you… not only in this life but for eternity.”

“You are talking as if this life is over… listen to me Vanathi! Do not worry your heart about Ponniyin Selvan. I do not think that he is in any danger. I spoke to the people of Pazhaiarai about this and let me repeat the same to you. Once when he was young, Mother Kaveri saved his life and gave him back to us, I think the God of Sea will do the same again. We will soon know more news about him and you will know that I am right.”

“How do you anything for sure? Do you have any proof to support your belief?”

“I believe my heart Vanathi. If something untoward had really happened to my brother, I would know it immediately within the depths of my heart. If he was really in danger, would I be talking to you so casually?”

“I do not trust the heart anymore akka!”

“Why do you say that?”

“For the past few days, I have been seeing a dream. I appears while I am asleep, while I am awake… sometimes it’s like a waking dream.”

“What dream is that?”

“I see your brother’s face on the water and then I can hear him calling me onto him.”

“This may not be a dream Vanathi, it is a vision that proves to us that this news is true.”

“I don’t know about that akka. If you hear my dream fully you will know. When I fainted in the lake, I went to Nagalokam and I saw a wedding…”

“Who was getting married?”

“I do not want to say that akka! That dream has proved to me that one’s heart can’t really be trusted. What we feel and think is different from what the reality really is. I have henceforth decided to trust only the facts that can ascertained by one’s eyes and ears.”

“Vanathi! What you are saying is wrong! There have been many instances where what one hears and sees have been proven wrong. I can give you many examples for this from stories and myth.”

“I will listen to them at a later akka. For now, I beg you… allow me to leave.”

“Kundavai was shocked. She wondered from wherefore this girl became so determined and resolute to have her way!

“Vanathi! Why this hurry? If you are so determined to go to Kodumbalur then tarry for a few days. The whole kingdom is under confusion and chaos. I will need to make proper arrangements for you to go…”

Akka! I have no fear. The palanquin bearers who brought me from Kodumbalur are sitting here idly. They will take me back home…”

“That’s not proper! You think I will send you home thus without any escort or guards…”

Akka! I beg you… I am not frightened of traveling alone. Who would dare to harm me? Everyone knows that I am your cherished companion. I will however beg a favour of you. I would like to visit Kudanthai Jodhidhar on my way to Kodumbalur. I have a few questions for him.”

“Even I wish to visit him but you are in such a hurry…”

“No Akka! This time around I wish to meet him alone.”

This completed Kundavai’s astonishment about Vanathi’s transformation. How did she change so completely from a frightened mouse of a girl to this determined woman? That’s when she knew that it would be impossible to stop Vanathi’s journey.

“Alright Vanathi. Do as you wish. Prepare for the journey while I go to the prison to release Vandiya Devan…”

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