Ponniyin Selvan, written by Kalki Krishnamurthy, is a historical novel set in the time period between the Tenth and the Eleventh century AD. A story that revolves around the Chozha Emperor, Arulmozhi Verman, who was later, crowned as Raja Raja Chozhan I. The story has all the ingredients of a political drama, including espionage, vendetta and patronage. Kalki masterfully weaves a few love stories into the mix, as well.
Now, one might ask, why am I attempting this retelling of a novel, which many already consider as an epic? There are primarily two reasons.
First, I have a few grudges against the original novel. If you talk to people around, there are many, who started to read this book, and slammed the book down after the first chapter. The main reason most people attribute to this behavior, is the detailed descriptions of the scenes by Kalki. While some might find this very enjoyable, it is not to the liking of everyone. While the inherent plot in the story is an extremely fast paced drama, the excitement gets deflated (for some) while reading the excruciating details of the scenes. The main theme behind this retelling is to focus on the plot. A very visible side effect of this is that, the retelling is hence much shorter than the original. I will have to admit though, that there are some descriptions — mostly historical — that would have to be mentioned, without which the plot would be incomplete. I have done my diligence in not omitting these.
The second reason is to present this story in English. Several of us did not study Tamizh in detail when in school. Hence, reading a tome split into 5 volumes and 2400 pages was out of the question. It would have taken me the number of years I spent in school, to read this book — word by word. It did not help many of us, that our parents would not stop gushing about the beauty of this book. This retelling is for those, like me, who desperately wanted to read the book, but could not, because of various reasons.
I also want to mention here, that this is not an exact translation of the work by Kalki Krishnamurthy. As the title says, it is a retelling. I have taken considerable effort to make this more easily readable than the original tome.
I had tried doing this as a Kindle book, but sadly, the interest from the author (me) and the audience base did not sustain. In this avatar, I am planning to release a chapter per week ~ much like the original version which appeared in the weekly Tamizh publication Kalki.
Lastly, I would request the reader to forgive me for any mistakes, confusions, and in general, anything that would make reading this book difficult for you.
Let me not stay between you and this book any longer.
Vetri vel! Veera Vel!