Book 1 | Chapter 9 | Riding with Kandanmaran

Kollidam river in full flow

Vandhiyathevan could not sleep. He rolled around thinking about the discussion in the courtyard. He felt like a wasp stuck in a honey pot. He now knew more than he should. Tornadoes of thoughts ripped his confused mind apart. Slightly before dawn, tiredness took over him, and he fell asleep.

He did not awaken until well after dawn, when Kandanmaran came to wake him up.

“Did you sleep well?”

“I slept like a log Kandanmara. It must have been the tiredness.”

“Yes, I came and checked on you after taking care of the guests, and you were deep in slumber.”

Vandhiyathevan knew that his friend was not telling the truth, but what could he do?

“Kandanmara, I must get ready and leave soon. It is getting late.”

“Why are you in so much of a hurry? I thought you would stay for a while.”

Vandhiyathevan quickly responded, “I had gotten news that my uncle in Thanjavur is terribly sick and is on his death bed. If I get delayed any further, I will not be able to see him alive.”

“Hmm. Ok. I will then accompany you to the Kollidam river bank.”

Vandhiyathevan tried protesting; citing that Kandanmaran had several high profile guests to attend do, but Kandanmaran would have none of it.

The two friends rode their horses alongside, chatting happily about old times. They had almost reached the river shore, when Vandhiyathevan broached the topic about Kandanmaran’s sister.

“It is a pity that your sister is so shy. I was searching for her when we went to the andhapuram. She hid behind your mother most of the time. What is her name?”


“Ah. What a beautiful name.”

Kandanmaran shifted uneasily in his horse. “Vandhiyatheva, my friend, I would like to ask a favour from you. I would like you to please forget my sister. My parents have arranged another alliance for her.”

Vandhiyathevan was shocked, but tried his best not to show it out. “What happened, my friend? Even yesterday you were alluding to giving her in marriage to me?”

Kandanmaran blurted out — “Something has come up. Just last night.”

Vandhiyathevan smiled and said — “I am not surprised though. One of the rich influential guests must be the lucky one. Who would marry off their girl to a wandering poor soldier like me?”

Kandanmaran protested.

Vandhiyathevan could easily guess who the bridegroom would be. It would have to be none other than the Prince who rode in the covered Palanquin — Madhuranthaka Thevar. A marriage alliance to forge the leadership alliance.

“I have taken no offense Kandanmara. And I will not talk about it anymore. I can see it hurts you”, said Vandhiyathevan.

“There is more to this marriage. I cannot tell you more than that, Vandhiyatheva. We will fight together on the same side again. Please do not ask me any more details. I guarantee you though, that our friendship will remain the same ever.”

They had reached the Kollidam river bank, and there was a boat with two oarsmen and a single passenger, that was about to leave. The oarsmen decided to wait for Vandhiyathevan.

“One of my men will take your horse back to Kadambur, and another will accompany you on the boat. Farewell my friend, until we meet again.”

The lone passenger in the boat looked like a staunch Shaivite. He had sacred ash smeared all over him. The oarsmen were about to push the boat away from land, when there came a scream from afar — “Stop. Stop the boat. I would like to cross the river too.”

The voice sounded familiar and as the rotund figure neared, Vandhiyathevan recognized the familiar Alwarkadiyaan Nambi, who clumsily clambered onto the boat.