I consider Vanathy as one of the most complex and intriguing character ever created in the Tamil novel world (OK, I still consider Yamini of Mogamull to be the best, but may be just above!). One character that will bear any comparison with Vanathy is Ophelia. If you have read 'Hamlet', you would have read about that girl who loves Hamlet and her father being killed by Hamlet, goes mad and ends drowning in the brook. Again personally, I consider 'Hamlet' to be the masterpiece of Shakespearean writings and it is no wonder that the best heroine he has produced is found in this play.

Although Kalki tells the events in flashbacks and as reminescences, the first time Vanathy meets Arulmozhi is when he comes in an elephant and rescues a nestful of birdlings. I still consider this the best chapter in the entire PS and the most romantic. After this high start, her life goes downhill, she realizes soon that the mahouth was Arulmozhi, the prince and faints the first time. Her love for him and the realization that there are many a princesses who are vying for his hand are so conflicting that she becomes physically weak and faints regularly. Her conflicts with Poongulazhi stems from the same thought process, where she tries to prove that she loves Arulmozhi no less. She even drowns herself in the process (in kudanthai). We see her gaining strength as soon as she starts realizing that Arulmozhi also loves her. Infact she even rescues Poongulazhi during this time.

I think she is more like the teen age girls. Emotional, thoughtful, sensitive and a bit confused to know whether Arulmozhi loves her or not. There is nothing much to deduce here. If you read PS closely, you will realize that Vanathy does not do anything other than thinking of Arulmozhi and all her actions are focussed on his welfare and ways to impress him, which I think is very normal for a girl in her late teens or in the starting 20s. Whereas Kundavai or Poongulazhi has other aspirations, Vanathy's only thought and actions are towards achieving her love. You can even call that obsessesion.

Ophelia bears comparison because she is in the same age group as Vanathy and she exhibits all the characteristic of Vanathy. She loves Hamlet, but when it is not reciprocated and she was treated badly, she goes mad. Hamlet is older and more mature and although cannot be compared to Arulmozhi in temper and other aspects, he is a complex hero himself. Just like Vanathy, Ophelia's love is tragic in the sense that she never get to know that Hamlet loves her (at least Vanathy does in the end!). The only deviation in their otherwise fanatical love is that Vanathy realizes her love and Ophelia does not.

I cannot really comment on the historical Vanathy but literarily, I think she is probably a masterpiece of Kalki. There is no similar character that can hold a candle to what she is. It is either because of the complexity of describing the innocent love. It is so pure, it usually ends up consuming oneself. I would even say once Vanathy realized her love by marrying Arulmozhi, she lost the will to live as she had her love and died prematurely at an young age. Nothing like it.

As an aside, when we ran a tamil magazine during my college days in Tirunelveli, I used to write under the pen name 'Vanathy'!!.


Hunter said...

cool thought.. i luv P.S like anything n vandiyathevan s my favourite!!!

Muthu Prakash said...

Thx Kathimathi

Saw ur more often...

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