Do you remember the stories you grew up listening to? Of fairies, princes, kingdoms and their brave kings? We remember them fondly, and they have a special place in our hearts.
For GC Mouli (Chandramouli Gopalakrishnan), these stories are reminiscent of his childhood visits to the temples of Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. Specifically, the Story of ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ (Son of Cauvery).
A historical fiction novel set in the Chozhan era, the 5 volume novel by the late Kalki Krishnamurthy is not an easy read. GC Mouli is on a mission to change that and hopes readers all over the world will enjoy his retelling of the story as much as he did, growing up.
We got in touch with the product leader and blogger to know more about his daring venture to translate the magnum opus for the masses.
From Thanjavur, with love
GC Mouli thanks his father for introducing him to the world of ‘Ponniyin Selvan’. It was the constant narration of the epic tale that prompted him to revisit the story well into his adult years.
“I loved to visit off-the-beaten-track temples in the Thanjavur-Kumbakonam area and I have been blogging about these jaunts. My father is a huge fan of Ponniyin Selvan and is always gushing about it. I guess the two desires met and Son of Cauvery happened.”
The Son of Cauvery
Why did GC Mouli choose to retell this magnum opus?
The Son of Cauvery is no ordinary book. Written in pure, archaic Tamil, the novel is lost for readers. The intricate depiction of scenes would push the short attention span reader of today to close the book.
Which according to GC Mouli, is not fair. The book is, after all, a piece of Indian heritage and culture.
“The original tome is in Tamizh and came out as a weekly series in Tamil magazines. The book has 5 volumes and is laced with political espionage, action, romance, and action. It weaves together a fictional story involving real characters such as the great Tamizh emperor Raja Raja Chozhan (the emperor who built the Thanjavur Big Temple). The original novel is beautifully written, but incredibly tedious to read.
“My retelling is for this generation – in English, Abridged, and focusing on the plot.”- GC Mouli
How does the retelling of an epic historical fiction novel come about?
Imagine finding out that your peers grew up without reading or even hearing about The Jungle Book! That’s what GC Mouli noticed about his readers too. They may have heard of the book, but no one dared to read it. In fact, he understood why.
“ Kalki has a knack of describing a paddy field for 5 pages. That could get on some readers nerves! ”
“ I have a few grudges against the original novel. While the inherent plot in the story is an extremely fast-paced drama, the excitement gets deflated (for some) while reading the excruciating details of the scenes. The main theme behind this retelling is to focus on the plot.”
Speaking of the plot, The Son of Cauvery is not completely a history book. It is in fact, a political espionage thriller that today’s generation of readers would find compelling to read.
“Take any Robert Ludlum thriller novel, and scale it back by 600 years, and that is exactly the essence of Ponniyin Selvan’. – GC Mouli
Retelling roots – How readers fell in love with the Son of Cauvery
Retelling a forgotten saga is not a simple task, especially when you have generated quite a buzz about the novel to your online followers.
GC Mouli uses the help of audiobooks and the Tamil dictionary to piece every word of the novel into English. His readers have only praises for his efforts!
“ There are many folks who are die-hard Ponniyin Selvan fans, who are re-reading my retelling. There are a bunch who have heard so much about it but never read it because of language and ‘patience’ barriers. The third bunch want to read the book before the movie by the same name is released.” – GC Mouli
Heard of Mani Ratnam? You can expect a movie about The Son of Cauvery hitting your screens soon!
No print, no problem!
When asked why he did not choose to print the book, GC Mouli felt it would require too much work and he just wanted to share his retelling of the story to those who love the premise.
(Appreciate the RTs 🙏 and for supporting this amateur author). https://t.co/bZlM40t8bD
— g_c_mouli (@gcmouli) July 1, 2020
“ I did not want it in print. I thought an ebook is the easiest way to get everyone to read a book that was part of my childhood, and my roots.”
To sell an ebook to the world, he needed a reliable platform. GC Mouli has finished refurbishing and translating the first volume of the 5 volume series of Ponniyin Selvan and has uploaded the ebook for readers on Instamojo.
“ This is my second time using Instamojo. I have known Sampad for a while and I have been following Instamojo’s journey. So it was a natural choice to put my book here. Luckily, it’s been super helpful for my readers to get access to the ebook.”
You can download the ebook from the Instamojo online ebook library, and also leave feedback to the author on his twitter page here.