A BROKEN PROMISE

How does it grieve a man when his beloved woman breaks the solemn promise that she has given? In this article, we behold a synopsis of the first verse of the poem “Theertha Karaiyinile“, penned by Subramania Bharati. Sorted as “Kannan Pattu“, this verse depicts the state of the man in a deserted spot. 

“தீர்த்தக் கரையினிலே – தெற்கு மூலையில் சென்பகத் தோட்டத்திலே, பார்த்திருந் தால்வருவேன் – வெண்ணிலாவிலே    பாங்கியோ டென்றுசொன்னாய். வார்த்தை தவறிவிட்டாய் – அடி கண்ணம்மா! மார்பு துடிக்குதடீ! பார்த்த விடத்திலெல்லாம் – உன்னைப் போலவே பாவை தெரியுதடீ!”      

“You assured me that you would appear with a confidante at night if I did wait on the bank of the sacred river in the southern corner of the garden of champak flowers. But, O Kannamma, you broke your word of honour! Ergo, my heart is all aquiver! And I behold girls that resemble you everywhere!” the desolate man does deplore.  

This extract reveals that the man and the lady are leading a love relationship. Thus, the twain plan for a moonlight tryst. The riverbank is the rendezvous that the lady does propose. In addition, she asks the man to remain in the southern nook of the garden, in which champak flowers are grown. 

As advised by her, he awaits there, expecting the lady to come with her bosom friend. However, his lover doesn’t arrive at the place as per her promise. Thus, he states that his heart pulsates, and as a result of this ill state, he starts to hallucinate

Why did you breach your promise?‘ is the essence of this verse. The bard uses the word ‘அடி‘ to address his lady. This term of endearment comes three times in this poem. It appears at first when the man regrets what his lady did. But its second vowel is lengthened when the man laments about the pains that he got. Like this, there is also a change in the tense from the last but one sentence. And the meeting place justifies the assumption that this verse might be written for *Lord Kannan.

Set aside the diction! Let us look at the man’s emotion! You may wonder why his heart should tremble for a simple reason. It is time to answer this question. 

The place where he lingers is full of fragrant flowers. Because of this, it is frequently stopped by birds and butterflies. When he waits for the maiden, he might have seen this scene. Even if they are birds, they don’t forget their promise, whereas his beloved has failed to reach the rendezvous. Can his heart tolerate this? No. So, take the promise that you won’t break any promise! That is what this verse does advise us. 

*Tamil name of Lord Krishna

About the author

Reshma Selvaraj

Hello, my name is Reshma Selvaraj. I am a graduate with a bachelor's degree in English. I am from a village called Kombadi Thalavaipuram in Tuticorin, a southern district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Tamil is my mother tongue. Though I studied English as a second language during my schooling, I enjoyed reading English poems and essays. As years passed by, I enrolled to study the literature of English in a college. That was when I began to read a lot of books both in Tamil and English. Thus I started to have a dream of becoming a writer. I have already written and published two short stories. The first short story, entitled “I have an interview tomorrow”, depicts the life of a disabled graduate searching for a job, and the second short story, titled “Aval Oru Maram”, defines the deforestation happening in the Western Ghats of India. This blog is to show the world that I am becoming what I wanted to become, and I hope that it will help you to become what you want to become.

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