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Monday, February 05, 2018

Book Review : 'Kannaki's Anklet' by Utkarsh Patel


In the book, 'Kannaki's Anklet : An Epic from the South of Vindhyas', the author, Utkarsh Patel is looking to do it again, but perhaps with a kind of a twist. His stories are everything to do with women. This time too, it has to do with two women, but with a turn of sorts for one woman. Her courage, her intelligence, and her essence...

It is a simple enough story, where the heroine is Kannaki. She is born to an affluent family, in a port town in the Chola kingdom. The parents find her a groom. Kovalan is his name, and he sings at the temple. The two are shown as two people, so much in love with each other.  

The two of them seem like nothing could separate them, but then suddenly, there is the advent of the courtesan, Madhavi. Now, Madhavi lays down her charms upon Kovalan. He could not resist these, and leaves behind Kannaki. That is where the twist lies.

There is nothing much Kannaki can do, as she watches Kovalan spend all his money on Madhavi and reduce himself and his family to impoverishment. Madhavi’s mother, who was happy all this while, is suddenly against Kovalan, and this she makes clear to Madhavi, which Kovalan overhears. Kovalan leaves, and one can see the heart break of Madhavi too. 

As Kovalan makes his way back home to his wife, Kannaki, I had to feel faintly for Madhavi too. Kannaki now comes into focus again, and I, who had spent all this time feeling bad for her, could not help but become slightly happier. (But of course, our times have changed so much that I am left feeling confused, basically Kovalan, who had left both wife and lover should pay, I felt, but that is not how this story goes.)

Anyway, returning to the story, Kannaki and Kovalan, now want to start off on another journey, this time to Madurai. But Kovalan, ends up meeting a messenger from Madhavi, who tries to lure him back to her. But Kovalan is adamant and refuses to go back to her.  The two of them go off on foot to Madurai. The road seems hard and affected by hazards, but the two of them are lucky as they find Sadhavi Kavunti, a Jain monk to escort them.

On their way, the two of them come into contact with some strange people. They end up meeting quite a few people, a few wise folks, a wood nymph, who tries to entice Kovalan, and some other people. But they always were full of stories and songs, some of which were composed by Kovalan and a few by Kannaki, too. Some were legends and tales of the places and the people, they were with too. 

The two of them reach Madurai and try to start off a new life. They have plans of using an anklet of Kannaki’s to start off with a little money. As Kovalan sets out to sell the anklet, he meets with a goldsmith, who wrongly accuses him of stealing the anklet from the queen.

What happens to Kovalan? Will he get framed? Will Kannaki find out exactly, what went wrong? Will Kannagi manage to prove her husband’s innocence? 

You can Buy the Book, right here. 

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