It’s a journey that you would never forget
Ponniyin Selvan by Kalki Krishnamurthy was written in early last century. And to this day, it remains the most popular classic book ever written in Tamil. And you can guess my level of obsession with it, when you know that I ‘learnt’ to read tamil, just so that I can read this book.They say it is difficult to review books that we really like. And I do believe it is true. I wouldn’t call this a review. This is merely a tribute, to one of the greatest writers of Tamil Literature.‘Ponniyin Selvan’ is set during last years of King Sundara Chozha’s reign (957–970 CE), the father of the great Chola king, Raja Raja Chozhan. The book is named after Raja Raja Chozhan. ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ was one of the titular names by which he was lovingly called by his subjects. Though the book bears the king’s name, he is not the hero of this epic.The story begins with the appearance of a young soldier, who rides in with his horse, right into our hearts. Vandiya Devan, is a penniless young soldier, whose antecedents once ruled the Chola empire. The first part of ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ chronicles his adventures, derring do’s, narrow escapes, fatal attractions and finally a journey all the way to Sri Lanka.Vandiya Devan is on his way to the capital Thanjavur, bearing messages from the Crown Prince, Aditya Karikalan to the King and to Princess Kundavai who lives in Pazhaiarai. Enroute to Thanjavur, he stays in his friend’s palace, only to discover a plot against the Crown Prince and he is determined to warn the King about it.Rich descriptions, poetic yet simple narrative, fantastic characterizations, unforgettable dialogues, I could just go on… Kalki’s powerful words brings the world of Chola kingdom alive, complete with its intrigues, mysteries, love and age-old code of soldier’s honour and duty.