Parthiban’s dream and my project

I technically have the ability to read Tamil.But even on my best days,i don’t think i could manage a page of Tamil prose without making my brain go bonkers.Obviously, i am not proud of this as Tamil is my mother tongue and I have studied it as my second language for a decent period of time.My reading habit started courtesy random books available at home. It is a little surprising that i have to slave over a passage of Tamil when both my parents read quite a bit of Tamil literature and we had tonnes to Tamil novels at home.

I had bought an English translation of “Parthiban’s Kanavu”,a very famous Tamil historical novel sometime last year and promptly forgot about it.A few days back, i decided to read something different and picked up the book.I must say the book has opened several doors for me.For one,i realized that translations and transliterations cannot do complete justice to the original.The lushness of words and the original import gets lost in many ways.In the next one year ,i plan to teach myself to enjoy Tamil literature .And “Ponniyin selvan”(another very famous book by Kalki) is going to be my guinea pig !.It’s a huge body of work and has 6 bulky parts to it.But everyone who has read the book tells me that its a masterpiece that has to be read in the original language.

Coming back to Parthiban’s dream, the Tamil version was translated by a 15 year old girl,Nirupama Raghavan.Commendable effort,i must say.The translation is not lucious enough when it comes top the choice of words,but despite the simplistic writing,the plot keeps you immersed in it at all times.Ok,let me tell you more about what the book is all about…

Parthiban is a Chola king.His empire is heavily marginalized with the Pandiyas,Cheras and Pallavas pressing into his territory from all directions.Pallava ruler,Mamalla Narasimha Chakravarti is the most dominant king in the southern lands and makes all other rulers pay tax to him.Parthiban refuses to pay up and decides to go into a war against the Chakravarti ,knowing very well that his troops are nowhere comparable to the Pallava army.Before marching into the battle ground,Parthiban unveils his dream(Chola kingdom becoming the strongest in the region) to his son ,Vikraman.

Vikraman is but a boy at his stage ,but decides to make his father’s dream a reality. Parthiban goes into war and is killed.However,before he dies ,a Shivanadiyar(Shaivite devotee) promises to help Vikraman realise his father’s goal.The rest of the story is about how Vikraman realises Parthiban’s dream.He is aided in his quest by several people like Ponna,a boatman,his wife,Valli ,Siruthondar and the mystery Shivanadiyar.

Vikrama has a love interest as well-Kuntavi,who is the daughter of the Chakravarti.And a bunch of villains to foil Vikraman’s resolve.The main supense aspect is “supposed”to be the identity of Shivanadiyar.However,the narrative gives you enough clues early on to figure out who he is.So that is not exactly too surprising when at the end of 250 pages the Shivanadiyar reveals himself. I have no clue whether the subtelity got lost in the translation or whether Kalki’s work is liberal with the clues too.

Its a highly entertaining read that rarely sags and almost every page has something wild and racy happening.People who like stories of kings and conquests will definitely like this.I am a history junkie,so i am not really surprised that i liked the book despite the very ordinary language.But one can’t deny the fact that the abridged translation is neat and edited tautly.

I have also bought myself the blaft anthology of tamil pulp fiction and am super excited about reading it.. There is a whole world of popular writing in vernacular languages that i have never considered before and regret not having considered them before.My only brushes with translated writing has been a few Tagore novels and i wasn’t too impressed with the quality.And oh,please do share your recommendations on good translated books.

Wish me luck on my quest.I wish i had a Shivanadiyar like Vikraman had to guide me through my project.

Return of the old post- Part 2

Bride Hunting..

Statutory warning : Old post. Ignore if already read !!

Ever since my cousin (let’s call him A) attained “eligible bachelor” status , all conversations at family get-togethers dangerously veer towards what he should look for in his prospective bride. Just about everyone wants to contribute his 2 cents….Now don’t get me wrong. Marriage is definitely a family affair. All I am just objecting to is all and sundry thrusting their views on the poor soul trying to get married.

There is of course, the new pastime that my family members have taken to… logging onto and dissecting each girl’s profile to pieces.

First profile for the day..
A’s mother: “That girl looks too modern, she will not fit into our family”

A : “That’s ok, amma. Girls these days want to look good and there is nothing wrong in that. I like my wife to be well dressed and not have a heart attack when she sees other women in tank tops!!”

Booma aunty : “What a name .. Pinky?..We can’t let you get married to someone whose name is Pinky !!.

A : Whats in a name?.Would you guys have said ok if her name was Abhithakuchalambal?.She looks nice, though. ”

Ramu mama : “what hobbies?? philosophy, photography, skate boarding and debating …girl seems independant. You will be get into trouble.She seems High-maintainence.Let’s look at some other profile”

A : “Very interesting.. i think i like her”

Seetha chithi : “What interesting ??. You need a girl who knows how to cook and not how to debate.”

A’s Father: “Where did we go wrong in bringing you up? Such girls will make you cook and clean after marriage.”

Vinu Chittappa : “Did your chithi know Bertrand Russel when we got married. Aren’t we happy?”

A : “Yeah , but i like my wife to be able to make intelligent conversation.Is there anything wrong with that? I want us to be equal partners in marriage. If i have to cook and clean, i will”

Booma aunty: “How come you have never helped your mother cook in the 27 years of your existence and you now willing to do all that for someone you don’t even know?.”

And so we move on to the next profile..

Ravi periappa : “This girl looks nice. They also belong to Tanjavur.The girl’s father is also a general manager in sundaram Motors.

A : ” Huh .. She looks like a school teacher. Look at that crooked nose. Plus i am not marrying the Girl’s father. It doesn’t matter to me if he is a big shot.”

A’s father : ” Aiyoo… At this rate, i don’t think you will ever get married.. You should learn to compromise and not concentrate on external things like looks. Only character matters, Not looks”

What character does one get to know about from a 30 -word write up that in most probability is fake??

Infact, my profile was on the site a 3-4 years back for a brief period of time. I was that tall,beautiful, fair,god fearing,soft spoken,family girl who likes to cook and sing keerthanas and was willing to let career take a back seat…Wonder what people thought of my character..
Gosh , What was i thinking when I let my parents write up my profile ..

No , this is not the last post of this year will wish u guys in my next post 😉