Category Archives: kingdom

The center of the world

I am standing at the center of the world. Part land, part air. Part earth and part sea. I am standing at the top our beloved lighthouse. I stand facing the sun, her heat sending birds screeching downwards into the cool water, and making strange mirages on the horizon. Below me is our beloved city, Mayyazhi. Ahead of me is our allMother the sea. In the far, far distance, if you squint hard enough, even though your eyesight isn’t as good as mine, you can see our glorious boats making their way to the little pearls. They are ten ten thousand islands, all bless our King! Gold Island and Silver Island, Agatti and Bammatti, Raarti, Chengathi, Kalpathi and Visatti, one island with a single coconut tree – the watching sentinel and one more with the blue mangoes. Then there’s temple island and God island (where nobody goes) and Death island (yes! Ifyou go there, you will die. Surely) and Moth island, Flame island and Fantastic Island – and hundreds of thousands of others! Beyond those is the open ocean – but I’m not done yet! The Open Ocean and father ahead – more islands. They have strange names Ulookuroo and Vaadhoo, Fulikadoo and Malookuroo all ooo’s and loo’s. Our great king has sent out our best warriors and engineers there, to show them the greatness of Mayyazhi. And beyond that, there are more islands! Can you believe it? With stranger names and stranger people no doubt, no doubt. Those people have orange heads and green eyes and they eat little children and old men like you. Fukafuka and Fakaravaka, Funafuti and Farafangana, Tranana and Wanana, Wasaya and Wayasewa. And beyond that – are our own Eastern mountains, because the world is round.

Behind me is all our Kingdom too. Green, green land. Forests and fields, paddy and coconut. The inland sea, and inmost islands, Tiger islands and the Heron marsh, and ten thousand canals: the teacher’s canals, the engineer’s canals and the boat canals. Canals so large two elephants could walk side by side in them and still have the King’s boat race them. And canals so tiny, I could jump over them, pissing all the way. Then there is the KingMothers village – Kollengode and beyond that Arikkode, and Chemanthi and Nellicheri. Those villages are all stone (because only the King may use metal) and they speak funnyfunny. But our KingFather, the old king, he married the queen of Kollengode, even though they speak funnyfunny and are so fair skinned that they burn in our summer. Our river Paramba also comes from there, from somewhere beyond our lands, beyond Kollengode, beyond the new lands, beyond even the forest people’s homes, beyond the large blackfruit groves and from within the dark forests of the Eastern mountains.

Then there are the eleven roads that lead to us, the North road and South road and the five East roads. But I’m still learning! I am going to see a map next week. I must recite everything perfectly before I can do that and I could tell you all in one go, but you keep interrupting me because you’re so stupid. Once I learn our land, I will learn the old stories. I’ll learn of allFather and allMother. And the queen of Qatlat, the rakshasi who was vanquished by the Godeess of Mayyazhi. And Mayyazhi is the center of our kingdom, with the King and her Queen, the city of brick and metal (the only one! all bless our King) and the city of a hundred canals. The only city on the treacherous coast, the only city where the King may live, the only city with the old tombs and the only city with a temple to allFather. Home of the Goddess, city of Black fruit and white pearls, city of stories, city of the most delicious, juiciest halva,  city of the most intelligent women, and  city of the darkest, strongest men.

I am standing at the top of our beloved lighthouse. It was built with yakshi magic and stands strong even in the stormiest of weathers. It lies on a spit of land jutting out to sea, our allFather meeting the allMother (Don’t tell anyone I told you that). The sea is our mother because she gives us fish when we are hungry, and pearls so we may look nice. But she is also our wife because when the women go out to fish, she keeps them safe.

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Revolution



Chaos theory will have us believe that small disturbances in a system will ripple through, magnifying themselves leading to one huge cataclysm. The bigger the system and the longer it takes for the smaller errors to accumulate. And after the big bang, the newer systems are generated with small errors of their own, which in time lead to further chaos. India was an idea crafted by politicians, visionaries. An impractical reality that somehow defied all laws of coherence and managed to stick as a coherent entity. Too many differences in the entities that constituted it. Most countries had a strong basis in language, religion, history or culture. Some were racially defined, some were remnants of large civilizations. India was all this and more. And none of this. Peoples of different colors and histories, strange languages and stranger antecedents. At time the only string holding the country together was its land mass and the sheer number of people.

Throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century Indians sought to gain common ground. Politics provided a great platform, the violence and dazzle luring all equally from Itanagar to Calicut. The onslaught of the middle class with similar values. The common feeling of battling poor infrastructure, violence and general chaos to reach the elusive higher plane. At the turn of the century it lay poised like a badly balanced airplane to take off into the future. And like a horrible aircraft , ill fated to reach the skies, it blew. And splintered into pieces. Like the body parts of the mythical Shakti, into several pieces, as it was since antiquity. India as a nation ceased to exist in 2035. Experts will point out several factors and reveal the imminence of that action. Some say it was to happen, some felt it to be an unnatural paradigm. Foreign hands, Gods, Religions, Colour and every possible prejudice were blamed in this fission. But reality lay splattered, a loose coalition of city-states and smaller principalities across the sub-continent.

And now each of these entities would be free of violence they thought. Bound by religion, culture or language exclusively. Some countries exclusively urban, some completely rural. Some spread out over large swathes of land, some confined to off shore islands and scanty mountaintops.

Circa 2009

Facebook and Orkut were merely tools. Sure they provided valuable connections now and then but that was about it. Six degrees of separation worked for once, in his favour. Combing the mists of the ancient past, searching through medieval rabble and trying to locate the future in the present chaos of modern India, his was a difficult task indeed. Especially the part of India he was supposed to work on.

Searching wasn’t easy. For one his search began around 1279 AD. And history wasn’t an easy pursuit. Like a temptress his destination moved across regions and countries. It changed languages and religions. And the messy proposition of caste. Which had oscillated no lesser than five times in 1500 years.

The task was fairly straightforward, to separate India into little nations. They were a large organization and had working teams, named in a cruel mockery of the Indian army. The Rajputanas would take care of Rajasthan, the Sikh regiment would create Khalistan. The Marathas would bring back their medieval glories and the Telengana dream of statehood went a step further to nationhood. Their team was nicknamed ‘Sangam’ signifying the lost Tamil age.

To bring back the glories of the Tamil nation, they needed a king. And not just anyone would do. So a meticulous search began. Looking through temple records, land deeds, properties and inheritances. Modern government databases, census data. Methodically sifted. Each demographic scanned and formulated. Large swathes of data residing as a muddle of names and places. It seemed hopeless at first but slowly a pattern began to emerge. And history, initially obfuscating, then slowly revealing patterns only to disappoint. Then letting out a little clue and piece by piece the jigsaw fell into place.

They had started with the Pandyans first, the last surviving Tamil kingdom. The lineage seemed straightforward enough till the fifteenth century where it ran into several errant progeny marrying in and out of religions. Invaders complicated the picture and the present day descendants would most likely be Indonesian. Or not. The Chera descendants were lost, over records and state boundaries. Eventually with time and meticulous research they had got to the inevitable.

Find the descendant of the Cholas. She survives.

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