Normally, I don’t read e-books. So, it was with reluctance that I decided to look up Sivagamiyin Sabadham when my colleague told me about this blog which is basically the english translation of a very famous Kalki Novel. Yeah, yeah, it’s not an e-book. Same thing.
Read the first chapter – most fascinating. I think I am going to be reading at least a couple of chapters a day for sometime to come. You can start here, if you would like to read it too.
This is what the translator, Pavithra Srinivasan has to say about the novel.
My first encounter with Kalki R. Krishnamurthy’s immortal classic, ‘Sivakamiyin Sabadham’, occurred when I was a thirteen year old. I made my acquaintance with Sivakami, the incredibly beautiful and talented Bharathanatyam dancer, Crown price Narasimha Pallavar, the brave but tortured lover, Emperor Mahendra Pallavar, a strategist of the highest order in the Pallava Empire, Naganandhi, a consummate villain, et al, through yellowing pages, elegantly illustrated by the artist Vinu, bound together when it had been serialized in the weekly, ‘Kalki’.
Kalki’s superb portrayal of the dancer Sivakami, her trails and tribulations caught my interest right at the beginning. His plot, the twists and turns, the psychological insight into the troubled mind of a girl in love and the consequences of her decisions captivated me. Kalki’s lyrical writing, the pictures painted by his words—especially the descriptions of the scene where the Crown prince professes his love for Sivakami were awe- inspiring, to say the least. The fame of ‘Sivakami’, the heroine (and, incidentally, fictional character), spread so far and wide, that visitors to Maamallapuram began to (and still do) associate the novel with the sculptures found in the harbour-town!
Later, when I was translating the novel, I truly understood the real beauty and magnitude of the novel. To call it a novel would be doing it an injustice. In my opinion, it is an epic, worthy of being placed among works produced by the best authors the literary world can boast of. As such, I wanted people who didn’t know Thamizh sufficiently enough, to understand and experience what I myself did— to savour this novel, in all its poetic beauty.
Kalki was one of the few gifted authors who could, with a few choice words, paint a canvas of lasting, lyrical beauty—such a writer is truly rare. Rarer still, is the opportunity of savouring the unique experience of his works as a translator, converting his work into another language, accessible to a wider audience than in his times. And in this I have been particularly fortunate.
I hope you enjoy reading this, as much as I did writing it.