There was a time when they called me Ponni*, affectionately. A time when my bed was an expanse of golden sand, a time when something called drought was unheard of and I was almost always in spate, speeding through the rich Chola and Hoysala kingdoms.
Rising from Coorg, I went heaving past the great Western Ghats, and my valley here was the richest between A.D. 1006 to c 1346. I have seen the Hoysala kings from the hills of the north-west Dorasamudra (now called Halebid), when they annexed Gangavadi and left an indelible mark in history with their stunningly beautiful sculpture and architecture. I then ran across the plateau of Gangavadi and then turned north-east. Over craggy rocks and past the luxuriant vegetation on both sides of me, I flowed, then plunged into narrow gorges, to suddenly widen myself into three hundred and seventy meters.
Those were times when my waters were clear as molten quartz. They were so enticingly clean, that people bathed unendingly on my lap and felt purified. I had a ‘presence’. I continued to be in the collective memory of the people until I became a Memory myself. For I was after all, their liquid, flowing time, all seven hundred and sixty- five kilometers of me. An expansive, mnemonic, deathless mother to one and all. Both the royals and the commoners dipped in my waters. I was their timeless Ponni, flowing within their bloodstream, living in their psyche for generations after generations as their inerasable Memory.
Until I merged with the sea, my mother, I was your very own Ponni.
"Ponni Looks Back: Prose Poem ",from Sipping The Jasmine Moon
*Ponni is the name of river Kaveri in classical Tamil literature.