Thursday, September 04, 2014

Princess Tangal Part III: The Home Coming

  • Little Tangal and her parents, are now living in a humble shelter in the hills above Ponnivala. It is situated on land that they do not control. And even this house has been assigned to them out of pity. It is owned by a not-so-friendly, and very powerful hunter-king.    

  • The couple sleep on a humble bedsheet, directly on a dirt floor. What a change from life in their old Ponnivala palace!

  • Tangal’s mother, Tamarai, is forced to work in order to earn enough to feed her exiled family. The local women laugh at her. They see that her hands a delicate, and not ready to hold a pounding pestle for hours each day! And what about her back? It takes a lot of muscle to do this work of rice husking.   

  • Tamarai lifts her heavy pestle stick and is about to start her first day at this local work. But she first prays to Lord Vishnu, hoping that he will help her through this trough trial of her will, and of her slender body!

  • When Tamarai returns to the little hut from her first day of manual labour she shows Kunnutaiya her hands. They are full of blisters! He is sympathetic but what can they do? Their little family has to earn enough to eat! And rice husking is not considered a man’s work. Kunnutaiya cannot find any paying work at all.

  • The family lives like this for nearly five years. Then one day Kunnutaiya hears an unusual sound. He looks at the floor and sees a tell-tale shadow. This dark outline is familiar! It has the shape of a very particular piece of headgear. It is the crown worn by their family’s local Ponnivala goddess, Celatta!

  • Kunnutaiya opens the door of the little hut. He was right. The goddess Celatta herself is paying them a visit!

  • Celatta announces that she has brought two five-year-old boys with her. These twins are Tamarai and Kunnutaiya’s own sons! The boys have been hidden, for their own safety, in a cave under her temple. Celatta herself has cared for them all these years. Kunnutaiya and Tamarai go to the place Celatta says she has left the boys to wait. Kunnutaiya holds out his hands to them with great joy. Tamarai is happy too, but she is doubtful that something like this could really be true.

  • Tangal points at the two boys. They are her own age. Does this mean she will finally have someone to play with? She is excited too.

  • Now the couple see that Lord Vishnu is there, as well as his sister Celatta. He manages to convince Tamarai and Kunnutaiya that these children really do belong to them. Then the god and the goddess both bless the little family. They wish them a bright and safe future. Then they disappear!

  • Tangal is happy but a little unsure. She reaches for her father’s hand. Will she still be loved as she was before… that is before two little boys the very same age as her, suddenly joined their family and made it so much bigger!

  • The happy family now leave the mountains and start their long journey back to Ponnivala. But first they must pass through a deep forest. Suddenly they come across a cluster of rocks. In their shadow lies a large mother sow, and her little piglet. This is the first wild boar family the three children have ever seen.

  • Tamarai is anxious. She recognizes the mother sow. She is the very pig that blocked her own pilgrimage path as she started out to find Kailasa so many years ago. She remembers well the curse that mother boar laid on her. She had said that “One day I shall have a son who will grow to equal many oxen in strength. He will be very big and very black. And one day his tusks will lift both your sons high in the air, killing one with his right tusk and one with his left.” Tamarai is scared. Little Tangal never sees the boar. She is asleep on Tamarai’s shoulder. But her brothers see him and want to attack him right then and there. But Tamarai says no. She asks the family to move on and leave the mother sow in peace. This is not the right time to start a fight with wild animals, nor is it a time to remember nightmares from the past!

  • So the family continue their journey through the thick forest. Their eyes are watchful. They are listening for every new sound, especially for a growl or a hiss. Fortunately no other animal steps onto their path, nor does any other living creature threaten them from the bushes.

  • Finally the little family reaches their old palace. They have managed to find it. They open the front door in anticipation. Will everything inside be OK? The two young boys are standing on their own feet now, eager to step inside and enjoy a first taste of the old family home. But Tangal is still a protected little girl. She rides across the threshold carried in her mother’s arms.   

  • The inside of the palace is dirty and a lot of repairs a needed. Still it is in relatively good shape. The place is at least livable, and it compares well with the tiny hut they have just come from. However, a big surprise does await the returning occupants!

  • There, in one corner of the large interior courtyard there is a tiny baby dog! The two boys rush over to greet it. As usual, Tangal is asleep in her mother’s arms. She does not see the new pet… yet.

  • Little does Tangal know that this amazing little dog, a female pup that has no ears, will soon become her favorite friend!

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