Book Review – Sivakamiyin Sabadham Vol #4, Shattered Dream

The conclusion of this epic novel Sivakamiyin Sabadham remains consistent with historical facts and with the fictional characters lives that Kalki has crafted. While Sivakami’s dream is shattered, Naganandi’s sacrifice also is in vain. Its sad to see Sivakami’s dream getting shattered despite her oath (Sabadham) getting fulfilled. A great lesson for all of us – our goals maybe achieved but it may also mean our dreams may not always come true.

Sivakamiyin Sabadham - shattered dream

Summary of Vol #4 Shattered Dream

The book starts with preparations for war and with Narasimha Varmar’s children visiting Aayanar, Sivakami’s father. At the end of Vol #3, we read that Mahendra Varmar had extracted a promise from his son much to his dislike – it was to get married to the Pandiya princess. Nine years pass. Mahendravarman dies from the injury he sustained from the battle with Pulakeshin’s army.

Narasimha Varmar, has been crowned the emperor and Vanamadevi is his chief consort. They have two children Mahendran and Sangamitra. Since Narasimha Varmar marries the Pandiya princess, he gets support from their army to attack Vatapi. He manages to negotiate an alignment with the Cholas, Vengi Pallavas and ofcourse the Pandiya.

Meanwhile, the differences between Pulikesi and Naganandi increases as Naganandi believes he should be ruling the kingdom as he is the elder of the twin. Naganandi had forsaken the kingdom when he became a Bikshu. He helps Pulikesi by wandering all over Bharat to identify weaknesses in other kingdoms.

As we saw in Book Review – Sivakamiyin Sabadham Vol #3, The Bikshu’s Love, he admits to being in love with Sivakami’s dancing prowess. In this book he realises that he is in love with her and wants to give up his monkship and marry her. In order to do that, he does not inform emperor Pulikesi about the Pallava forces that were on their way to attack Vatapi.

Emperor Pulikesi is also very upset with the fact that he couldn’t get Sivakami to dance to his tunes !!

Narasimha Varmar leaves on the auspicious day of Vijayadashami with an army that looks like an ocean – lakhs of soldiers and thousands of war elephants and horses. He was aided in his war preparation by the Sri Lankan prince in exile Manavanman.

Manavanmar was an expert in training war elephants. In preparation for the battle of Vatapi – “…Manavanmar has trained the elephants to force open the fort gates with iron poles, demolish the ramparts with crowbars and set the interiors of the fort ablaze by flinging illuminated torches.”

At Vatapi, Pulikesi plans to visit Ajanta to take part in a cultural festival. That’s exactly the time when Narasimha Varmar’s Pallava army reaches Vatapi. The citizens inside the fort have no option but to offer to surrender. When Pulikesi learns about the Pallava attack, he immediately returns to Vatapi but dies in the battle with the Pallava army outside the Vatapi fort.

Naganandi manages to steal Pulikesi’s body and taking the help of the Kabalikai Ranjani, he cremates Pulikesi and returns to Vatapi as emperor Pulikesi. He immediately withdraws the surrender offer. The Pallava army breaks down the fort door and start streaming into Vatapi. They set houses ablaze.

Paranjyothi and Kannabiran (Narasimha Pallava’s charioteer) go into the city of Vatapi trying to find Sivakami’s palace. Kannabiran enters her palace and is killed by the Kabalikai Ranjani as she mistook him for Narasimha Varmar. Naganandi is visiting Sivakami at that instant and tells her that he has given up his vows as a monk and is free to marry her.

Seeing her friend Kamali’s husband Kannabiran dead, Sivakami collapses and Naganandi tries to escape with her through the secret tunnel. Paranjyothi and some other soldiers find the entrance of the secret tunnel from Sivakami’s palace and Naganandi is caught between the Pallava soldiers on either side.

Paranjyothi allows Naganandi to escape since he still thinks of him as a Buddhist monk and someone who had saved him from a Cobra bite on his first visit to Kanchi. Narasimha Varmar is curt and rude with Sivakami…. and she is heart broken that her oath led to so many innocent lives being lost. She is reunited with her father Aayanar and they leave for Kanchi.

The Pallava army collects all the war booty and leaves a few days later.

At Kanchi, Sivakami realises that Narasimhavarmar is married to someone else and is truly heartbroken. She later on decides to marry the God of Kanchi, Ekambareswarar. Narasimha Varmar attends one of her performances and is moved to tears… so many dreams shattered, all because of an oath, Sivakamiyin Sabadham.

After reading nearly 3500 pages written by Kalki Krishnamurthy, I feel he was a philosopher as well besides being an outstanding writer. The fictional characters he creates are so real, that you always find somebody in real life who resembles them. Sivakami’s character is one such… a danseuse par excellence, who catches the eye of the crown prince of the Pallava empire.

She loses everything because of her pride, ego and immaturity. 🙁

We have several such famous personalities who excel in one area – sports, acting, singing, dancing, sales, training etc but lose everything because of their ego and immaturity.

Now I have to read more about the Pallava empire. They ruled for over 600 years … and Narasimha Varmar is an undefeated King. a 100 years after him, the Pallava army faced its first defeat. Have goosebumps thinking of that !!

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