Book 1 | Chapter 11 | Vaanathi’s Horoscope
The astrologer had collected horoscopes of several of the royal family and associated vassal kings and their families. It is this reason why he was able to find the horoscope of Vaanathi in his ancient wooden box. He pulled out the horoscope palm leaf carefully and started studying it. He looked at it deeply without making any comment, intermittently looking at Vaanathi’s face once in a while. After a while had passed, the Princess asked, “Josiyare, you have been studying the leaf for a long while now, and you have not spoken. Is there anything wrong?”
“Oh Princess, there is nothing wrong in this horoscope. In fact, quite contrary. I have not seen a better horoscope than this in my life. This lady here is going to have a future that is unimaginable for any normal person. She is going to become the Queen of Queens. Her husband will rule a large kingdom. And the child that she will give birth to — a boy — aha — that boy will rule over an even larger kingdom.”
The Princess asked — “Where will her husband come from?”
“The husband would not need to come from afar. This warrior prince is not here right now. He is right now fighting a war across the ocean. The prince who will marry this lady would have a Shanku-chakram pattern on his palms.”
“Akka, this old man is making fun of me. I do not want to stay here any longer.”
“You will not believe me now. But my astrology never lies. When all of what I tell you happens, please do not forget this poor astrologer.”
“The horoscope also tells me that the warrior prince who will marry this lady will have several obstacles while becoming the great ruler that he will become. But he will overcome each and every one. However the boy who will be born out of this lady, will have no obstacles. All that he touches will become gold. Places where he steps foot on, will become his kingdom. Wherever his eyes set sight on, the tiger flag will fly high.”
Suddenly, Vaanathi fainted and fell. The Princess caught her mid-fall and made her lie on her lap.
“Nothing will happen to her, your Highness.”
“Yes, I know. This has become common now. She has fainted like this a few times now. After a while she will slowly wake up, without knowing where she is.”
“Meanwhile, I would like to ask another important question. What is going to happen to the Chozha kingdom? I hear all kinds of ominous speak in the streets.”
“Your highness, please do not ask me about that. I do not foretell about state matters. States do not have horoscopes, do they? I have only enough skill to foretell future considering the horoscopes of people and the positioning of the stars.”
With a smile on her lips, the Princess said — “You are playing very safe, sire. I agree that the state does not have horoscopes, but you can tell the future of my father, the Emperor, and my brothers? They have horoscopes and available with you. I have been worried about my father ever since he moved from Pazhayarai to Thanjavur.”
“As I had earlier said, Princess, your family is going through a difficult time. There will be some obstacles. But, with the grace of Durga Devi, all will end well.”
“Akka, where are we?” said Vaanathi, groggily getting up.
“Vaanathi, we are still in this earth only. Come, let us get back on our chariot, and leave from here.”
“Josiyare, you said so much about me — not that I believe any of it — but you did not tell anything about the Princess? When and where will her Prince come?”
The astrologer smiled and said, “He will come very soon.”
Princess Kundavai asked — “How will he come? By horse, or chariot, or will he jump directly from the heavens, breaking through this roof?”
“Akka, I can hear a horse approaching.”
They could hear the gallop of a fast horse. The horse came to a stop right outside the astrologer’s house. There was a commotion of the rider arguing with the astrologers disciple about getting inside the house.
Vandhiyathevan forced open the door and walked into the house, with the disciple tugging at him from behind. As he came in, he saw the two ladies sitting in front of the astrologer. His eyes met the eyes of the Princess. For a few seconds, he stood mesmerized. Her mischievous smile on her lips, her large eyes, her strikingly beautiful face. Within those few seconds, this entire sight got imprinted in his heart.
He shook himself out of his reverie, and turned to the disciple — “You could have told me that there were ladies in the house. I would not have come in.” And he stepped out of the house immediately.
The Princess asked, “Josiyare, who is this young man?”
“I do not know, your Highness. But he does seem to be a brash young man.”
The astrologer gave the two ladies kumkum, as was customary, and led the ladies out of the house.
Vandhiyathevan was standing in a corner outside the house.
As the Ladies walked towards the charriot, Vandhiyathevan yelled — “Please pardon me. This wise disciple did not tell me about ladies in the house. I truly would not have come in if I had known.”
The Princess gave a mischievous smile and tugged at Vaanathi’s hand and boarded the chariot.
As the chariot began to move, Vandhiyathevan shouted again — “It seems that Kudandhai ladies do not even have the basic courtesy to respond to a genuine apology from this young man.”
The chariot raced towards the Arasalar River.