In this episode, we hear the lament of a lady, as depicted in Sangam Literary work, Kurunthogai 97, penned by Venboothi. The verse is situated in the coastal regions of ‘Neythal’ and speaks in the voice of the lady to her confidante, expressing her angst at the man’s delay in seeki
Upload Date: May 25, 2021
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In this episode, we hear the lament of a lady, as depicted in Sangam Literary work, Kurunthogai 97, penned by Venboothi. The verse is situated in the coastal regions of ‘Neythal’ and speaks in the voice of the lady to her confidante, expressing her angst at the man’s delay in seeking her hand in marriage.
யானே ஈண்டையேனே; என் நலனேஆனா நோயொடு கானலஃதே.துறைவன் தம் ஊரானே;மறை அலர் ஆகி மன்றத்தஃதே.
‘What is where’ is the essence of this verse! First, the focus falls on ‘யானே ஈண்டையேனே’ meaning ‘I’m here, alone’, touching on the theme of loneliness. The phrase ‘என் நலனே’ meaning ‘feminine beauty and virtue’ shows how this aspect of a person seemed to have been seen as a separate entity. Next, we meet ‘துறைவன் தம் ஊரானே’ meaning ‘the leader of the shores is at his hamlet’, which informs us of the whereabouts of the male protagonist. Ending with the word ‘மன்றத்தஃதே’ meaning ‘at the village centre’, the verse beckons us to listen with empathy.
Loneliness on one side and apathy on the other can be sensed from these glimpses! The context reveals that the man and lady had been leading a love relationship and that the man had been trysting with the lady for a long while. One day, when the man has been missing for some time, the lady turns to her confidante and says, “All alone, I am here; My health and beauty, with ceaseless suffering, is at the seaside grove; The lord of the shores is at his town; Our secret relationship, becoming slander, is at the town centre!” With these words, the lady talks about how everything around her seems to be not where it should be.
What is the lady’s yearning exactly? The first element the lady mentions is herself and how she was right there, where she was, and alone. Next, it’s the turn of her beauty and virtue, which she symbolises as an entity apart from her and informs us that this entity, with no sight of an end to its suffering, is at the seaside grove nearby. What does she mean by these words? Before we get there, let’s see the rest of what the lady says. After the mention of her beauty, the lady talks about the man, who had won her heart, and how he was in his own town, faraway. Finally, she explains how their hidden relationship has now been revealed by slanderous talk in town and seems to be standing in a place, where it can be seen by all, in the town’s centre!
When the lady is talking about her beauty languishing at the grove, she means to mention it as the trysting spot where she met and united with the man. And, since the man doesn’t return to seek her hand, her health seems lost at that very spot! Each entity she means is supposed to be at another place. For instance, she herself is meant to be at the man’s house, married and fulfilling her wifely duties; Her health and beauty, now suffering at the grove, is supposed to be flourishing in the happy company of the man; For all this to happen, the man himself must not remain content in his town but must rush to seek the lady’s hand from her parents; And finally, in the town centre, it shouldn’t be slander sitting on high and ruling the minds of the townsfolk, but the happy news of the man’s marriage with the lady! A tiny verse that goes on to highlight a simple thought that many of us might have had at some moments – a wish for a state different from where we are. Just like the lady in this verse, when we pause and listen to that inner voice that subtly echoes our dissatisfaction with the present, the path to where we need to be, would surely shine before our eyes!