Now, as I lay in the tent, the caravan having stopped for the night and Mother’s snores keeping me awake, I wondered whether Kovalan and I would have a love-child or a drama-child. I was sure I would never quarrel with Kovalan. All our children will be love-children.

Chinnamma did not say how couples made love-children. The neighbourhood girls taught me that secret.

It started with an incident that turned my face red. It was an afternoon, and the adults were enjoying their naps. Taking the opportunity, Kovalan and I went to the river and frolicked.

His garment came loose. I gasped, and pointed and jumped up and down with fear. Some strange water creature had latched onto my poor Kovalan. In a flash, he covered himself with his hands and sank back into the water. He told me to go home. When I hesitated, he grew annoyed and railed. His behaviour shocked me, and I ran home in tears.

For many days after that, Kovalan did not visit and his absence broke my heart. It was also about this time he found a new friend, Anandan. Kovalan fetched him to meet me and we resumed our friendship. And we never spoke of the river incident.

When I shared my fears with the neighbourhood girls, they giggled and I grew up. No one at home associated the word lingam, the stone image of Lord Shiva, with such crass matters. For me the lingam was god. I also learned new words. Distasteful words. And I stayed away from the girls. But the thought of Kovalan’s lingam—it was safer to use this innocent word—evoked novel sensations. Embarrassing heart-racing sensations. I learned more adult things because of the boys.

Kovalan and Anandan scratched themselves below their navel and, wanting to fit in, I scratched myself there too. When Mother caught me touching, as she referred to it, she shrieked so loud that I feared a demon had possessed her. She ran into the kitchen and there was a ruckus.

Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2019

Continued on Friday: Demonic Possession


  1. Oh dear, a strange water creature is it? My education is now complete Eric. You are a source of wisdom. LOL. Yes indeed elementary school children are a source of education also per favour of their elder siblings.

    1. Happy to have contributed to your tomes of knowledge 🙂

      I love this Kannagi character. She is adorable and witty – and funny.

      I’m recovering from my Chinese New Year binge. Heading to the gym later to burn off some calories 🙂


  2. It is the innocent yet sensual arrousal age, mixed with curiosity and self conciousness. Sometimes we have forgotten our youthful pleasure.

    1. Hello there Windy,

      Yes, she lives a sheltered life and makes discoveries that shock her. In subsequent chapters, events occur that shape the characters (reference points) of Kannagi and Kovalan. These character traits impact fateful turns in their lives.

      Hope you’re enjoying your holiday.

      Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous Year of the Pig,

  3. Surely this chapter is an addition to the legend from which you draw your story.
    You write well as a woman. I imagine that most girls see male anatomy when helping tend to siblings or other people’s babies. For example when I was 10 I provided much of my baby brother’s care including his bathing. I agree that if the first exposure had occurred as you narrate that it might be quite a shock.
    The story keeps getting richer!

    1. “You write well as a woman.”

      Wow! Jane! That’s the best compliment I’ve received for Song of the Ankle Rings – and from a published author too! How can I ever thank you.

      And you’re perceptive too. Yes, this river incident is not from the original story. I inserted it as part of character building for Kannagi. As you know, she is the protagonist in the story and her character sets the tone and drives the plot.

      What a great start to my Monday 🙂

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