The Tamil work of Nalavenpa contains several fascinating accounts and similes that reveal the skill and talent of the poet Pukalenti and his expertise in the art of writing and in composing poetry.
Author of Nalavenpa
Pukalenti was considered as a contemporary of the famous poet Ottakoothar, who was the court poet of the Chola dynasty. According to legends and local beliefs, Pukalenti arrived in the Chola court as a part of a wedding gift when the Chola emperor came back after getting married to a princess of the Pandya Dynasty. At the royal court, the poet Ottakoothar conspired against Pukalenti and made him imprisoned. Pukalenti taught the prisoners the Tamil language and helped them in becoming poets. After the Chola king heard about the skill of Pukalenti to convert prisoners into poets and also about the talent of the poets trained by him. Thus he was immediately released from prison by instructions of the king. There are many other such accounts and poems about Pukalenti.
It is also widely believed that when Pukalenti was imprisoned he received aid from women who passed along the area beside the prison in order to obtain water. He composed numerous fascinating poetical works in Tamil to please these women. These works include Pancapantavar Vanavacam, Eniyerram, Pulantiran Tutu, Alliyaracanimalai and Pavalakkotimalai. Most of the verses are adapted from the tales of the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata or the folk tales based on the epic.
Content of Nalavenpa
The literary work of Nalavenpa describes the arrival of Tamayanti Tamayanti at the hall of selection of the bridegroom or the cuyamvara mandapa. The poet Pukalenti compares the royal bride to that of a white swan gliding down a red lotus pond. The hall and the eyes of the Chola rulers have been regarded as a pond and red lotuses respectively. In another part of the Tamil poetic work, Pukalenti describes that both King Nalan and Tamayanti leave their kingdom and move to the forest. After nightfall, when his wife Tamayanti fell asleep, Nalan woke up and cut off a single piece of cloth that they were adorning at that particular time. While narrating this particular scene, the poet mentions that the actions of Nalan depict the separation of his life ties and the root of his love from her.
Pukalenti, the author of Nalavenpa, utilised basic and easily understandable words to artistically narrate the act of women picking flowers from a garden. According to the description, the women just touch a branch ornamented with flowers in order to pick some of them. In several places of the Tamil poetic work, Pukalenti proves his mastery over the poetic forms by illustrating natural scenery or an incident in a lucid and uncomplicated manner.
The Tamil work of Nalavenpa, composed in simplistic manner with a mixture of colloquial words, gained immense popularity in the Tamil country as it could be easily understood. The work is still read by the Tamil people at the present age and is renowned for its lushness of imagination and for its capacity to enthrall the minds of the readers.