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Overwhelmed with joy by the prospect of a long journey into new lands, the first in my life, I shared my excitement with Kovalan. But he grew sullen. I detected a tinge of envy. By going away on new adventures, I was in some strange manner doing better than him. His behaviour was disappointing for I thought he would be happy for me.

His joy was mine, but he did not share my joy. That made me sad. Now I did not want to go. I wanted to remain in Puhar to keep Kovalan happy.

But Anandan was excited for me and told stories of new adventures that beckoned.

I trudged home, angry and confused, and cried myself to sleep. But by morning, I had resolved myself to Kovalan’s apathetic reception of the news. He was right, and I would not abandon him again. This journey would be the first and the last without him. In the future, I would place him before all else, for I believe there was no greater joy than to make him happy.

What I did not know was that, instead of a year, my parents had conspired to keep me away from the boys for several years—until I lost my boyish antics and reached marriageable age.

I lost my rough edges in that time but also acquired a new skill, one that my parents had not wished—I learned to ride horses. But it was a poor trade for all those years without Kovalan.

Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2019

Song of the Ankle Rings, an adaptation of Silappatikaram

Continued on Monday: A Child leaves and a Maiden shall Return