And so it was on the day of the wedding, with hundreds of eyes watching in rapt awe and envy, that I, Kovalan, only son of Sir Masattuvan—he of a long line of renowned merchant princes, patrons of the arts, and philanthropists extraordinaire—bent and touched the trembling skin of my bright new wife and embellished her dainty feet with the tinkling anklets, even as her toes curled in virginal modesty. I drew my dagger and twisted, releasing the fine gold thread linking the two ankle bracelets.

‘Let these be a symbol I have chained you with my love and unchained you also, to come and go as you wish. Remove these not for any man, woman, or god.’

‘I will remove these beauties only for you,’ said Kannagi. ‘I thank you, my dear husband, for this great generosity of freedom. My place is beside you and I freely choose your wishes for my chain.’

Over the next days and weeks, all in my household marvelled at the choral music of the rubies singing from my wife’s feet, as I had first imagined, when she moved about the house. And many times Kannagi said,

‘Dear Athan, what a lovely and appropriate gift, these ankle rings. I am not blessed with the talents of music or song, and my parents did not see fit to have me schooled in these arts, but in my stead let these marvels sing for you and keep you blissful.’

Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

Song of the Ankle Rings, an adaptation of Silappatikaram

Continued on Friday: Kannagi’s Destiny Foretold

12 comments

    1. Thank you, Ankur,

      Dainty – that’s not a word one hears often. Good one!

      I suppose the Kovalan/Kannagi wedding pales in comparison to the Isha Ambani/Anand Piramal nuptials 🙂

      Have a great week ahead,
      Eric

  1. Your use of the language borders on the poetic. I loved reading it as it has all the visual attributes to transport one into the scene as a silent and invisible watcher.
    Looking forward to more Eric creations. 🙂

    1. Now, that is a welcomed compliment, Ian.

      Thank you!

      Authors try to transport their readers to the world they create. Looks like I might have succeeded with you. A very encouraging win that will keep me going.

      Once again, thank you,
      Eric

  2. Many years ago, I remembered my colleague once told me that during an Indian customary marriage, the groom has to place a toe ring on the bride’s feet. This act of bowing before the bride is a sign of respect. But the groom while fitting the ring will squeeze the toe of the bride to remind her that she is chained by his ring. I’m not sure if i was told the rigjt thing.

    In this story I can see the love between Kovalan and Kannagi, the pride mixed with youthful excitement in coming together as a couple. He was so meticulous in picking the right gift and she willingly be chained to him.

    1. Hello Windy,

      Depending on how much tradition modern couples (or rather their families) embrace, the groom applies tumeric and sandalwood paste on his bride’s feet. He also adorns her feet/toes with ornaments. As for squeezing and teasing, I suppose it’s all part of the fun enjoyed on the big day.

      Touching the feet of a woman one loves is romantic, sensual and even erotic. But that’s me – LOL.

      Have a great week ahead,
      Eric

    1. Hello Bill,

      Thank you for your kind words – very encouraging.

      Kannagi’s words prove fateful.

      BTW my knees are playing up and recently, I quit jogging. Now I focus on road-cycling. Singapore is building an extensive network of cycling tracks, including one that runs from the north of the island right to the south into the downtown area. I hope you are cycling too.

      All good wishes for the week ahead,
      Eric

    1. Hello and good morning, my Nairobi friend, Onyango,

      Good of you to follow and read the story. Much appreciate you keeping me company.

      Yes, Kannagi’s promise was exemplary and she was a role-model of her time.

      Have a great week ahead,
      Eric

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