This post was written a year ago. No comments or explantion posted. So I thought I would read through the original commentry and try to explain the poem. So here is the poem with explanation.
Thalaivan and Thalaivi have fallen in love. This poem is based in Kurunji – mountaineous regions. The primary occupation of the mountain tribes are hunting and agriculture. Usually in Kurunji landscape the Thalaivan is from a different hill to that of Thalaivi. Thalaivan accidentaly meets Thalaivi when he is on a hunting trip (as always its an accidental meeting). The girl (Thalaivi) works in her parents Millet farm. She resides in raised stage and chases away any birds with feed on the millet crop and spoil them(one my older post i have presented a poem where the Thalaivan presents Thalivi a rattle to scare away the birds in a bid to attract her). Thalaivan usually comes chasing an elephant and saves Thalaivi from wild elephant and both of them fall in love(yeah, this scene was imported from sangam literature and pasted in mythology by Kasiappa Civasariyar who wrote Kandapuranam – Valli – Murugan love episode!). Now Thalaivan and Thalaivi meet regularly. But soon the crop season gets over. The Thalaivi can no more come and meet the Thalaivan. Thalaivi is very sad about this situation and feels lonely without the Thalaivan. Hence she utters this poem.
வருவதுகொல்லோ தானே வாராது
அவண் உறை மேவலின், அமைவது கொல்லோ
புனவர் கொள்ளியின் புகல் வரும் மஞ்ஞை,
இருவி இருந்த குருவி வருந்துற,
பந்து ஆடு மகளிரின் படர்தரும்
குன்று கெழு நாடனொடு சென்ற என் நெஞ்சே?
தலைமகன் வரைவிடை வைத்துப் பிரிந்து நீட்டித்துழி, உடன்சென்ற நெஞ்சினைத் தலைமகள் நினைந்து கூறியது.
My heart has gone with him.
Will it come back,
or will it stay with him
where it wants to be?
On his mountain,
peacocks flee from the torches of hill men
and terrify little birds in the stumble of the grain field,
running like girls playing ball.
Translated by George L Hart
This poem employs double similie that is similie within a similie.’ peacocks flee from the torches of hill men’ means that the Thalaivan in fear of society has returned to his hills.(a I said before he is from a different hill and usually meets Thalaivi when he chases an animal to hunt), ‘terrify little birds in the stumble of the grain field’ is the first of the double similie, the little birds in the stuble get teriffied when the peacock flees from the torches of the hill men, similarly the thalaivi is teriffied to know that the thalaivan has left to his hill without pursuing her. She expects the Thalaivan to be bold and come to meet her, for she is now not able to go and meet him because the crop season is over and she cant leave her house. There is more subtle emotion involved here, peacock flees for its safety, and in its panic it is not able to realize that it is terifying the small birds in the surronding. Similarly the Thalaivan is not able to understand that his exit to his hills would cause such mental trauma for the Thalaivi.
Now lets go into the similie within the simile. The small birds which get terrified and run around are compare to the girls playing ball. So what is this grils playing with ball? The girls must have been running around and throwing ball, probably a popular sport amoung girls. So I decided to do some reseach on the ball game.
There is not much description of the ball game except it was played by girls running around and throwing the ball. I am sure wether it was to hit or to throw and catch. But from the this line from Perumpaan aatrupadai , I get the sense that the game was really tiresome.
கால, தமனியப் பொற்சிலம் பொலிப்ப வுயர்நிலை,
வாய்றோய் மாடத்து வரிப்பந் தசைஇ
When tired with play with balls well bound with strinfs
Their anklets make a tinkling sound.
தமனியம் கால பொன் சிலம்பு ஒலிப்ப வரி பந்து அசைஇ-பொற் பூண்களையுடைய கால்களிடத்தனவாகிய பொன்னாற்செய்த சிலம்புகள் ஆரவாரிப்ப நூலால்வரிதலையுடைய பந்தையடித்து இளைத்து
My guess is that the girls run around to avoid being hit by the ball. One person throws the ball with aim to hit the running person, if the ball hits the person was out of the game. I have come to this inference from three poems, the first poem, the one being discussed here – The poet clearly compares the running of terrified birds to the girls playing ball. So the ball game surely has the girls running around wildly.The Perupaan aatrupadai poem quoted above tells about the ‘eripanthu’ – ‘Throw ball’ ,so the ball was thrown around. The only thing left to infer is wether the ball was thrown to be caught or with intention to hit the running girls. The answer to this question can be found in Kalithogai 57.
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