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Family Characters: The Second Generation

Tamarai — The Mother

Tamarai is a strong and devout woman with the ability to call on the gods for help in times of special need. She is far more perceptive than her husband. As his advisor she often protects the family from imminent danger. Tamarai’s main suffering is due to her barrenness. She badly wants children. Finally she makes a dramatic pilgrimage to the gates of heaven where she sits on a pillar and receives a boon of fertility from Lord Shiva himself.

Kunnutaiya — The Father

Kunnutaiya is an ambitious farmer who wins back his land rights from his cousin-brothers who took over his family’s land deceitfully, soon after he was orphaned at age ten. Hardened by years of wandering and working for others as a shepherd, Kunnutaiya finally marries and returns home to rebuild his own kingdom. The neighbouring Chola monarch honours him as an ally. He is much respected as a just and kind local ruler.