Monday, April 15, 2024

A to Z April Challenge 2024: M for MANU, the tiger


MANU is the name I gave the tiger in my historical fiction novel. The young princess of Kongunadu, Chamundeswari, brings the little tiger cub to her palace, when he is found near his dead mother’s carcass. The little princess is also orphaned when the king and queen die in a palace fire. Princess and pet grow together to make a powerful team. 

I recall watching a Tamil film when I was in school. It had the villain having a tiger for a pet. I have always been fascinated with this idea, especially when I heard from a cousin that people living in the US had wild animals for pets. At least, that’s what he told me in the 1970s. I don’t know the present scenario.

Finally, I could give vent to my imagination when I wrote my second historical romance fiction called THE REBEL PRINCESS, where Princess Chamundeshwari has a pet tiger called MANU.

The princess is glad to have Manu’s company in her lonely life, especially surrounded by enemies. While Manu is generally docile, he could turn into a predator if he finds his mistress under threat. 

Read some excerpts featuring Manu:

Just before dawn, Vijayendran woke up with a jerk when he heard Manu snarl. Wide awake even as he sat up on the wall, he watched in astonishment when Manu sprang down from the wall into the garden and loped further ahead towards the back door of the house. What must have set the tiger off?

He quickly jumped down from the wall too and took off behind Manu, doing his best to remain as silent as possible. He stopped and moved behind a tree when he saw Manu facing a man who was trembling from head to foot, obviously on coming across the fully grown tiger in the garden. Vijayendran could see the man’s hand—the one in which he was holding a kuthuval—shake, so much so he was on the verge of dropping the dagger. 

As for Manu, he was preparing to leap on the man, stretching his sleek body, building pressure on his front paws.

Vijayendran was curious to know what the tiger would do. It was obvious that Manu was completely tame and too well fed to crave human flesh. But it was also evident the tiger had sensed danger in the man. It was not just the fact he was a stranger. After all, had Manu not befriended Vijayendran the very first time they met?

The prince could see the man was up to no good. Or why would be come here before dawn when everyone tended to sleep like the dead? 

Manu leaped suddenly and the man screamed, the dagger falling out of his hand in a clatter. He was lying on the floor with the huge tiger’s front paws on his chest.

Vijayendran laughed softly even as he stepped out of his hiding place from behind the tree and walked to the rear doorway of the house where the man was sprawled on his back, abject terror in his face.

As for Manu, he growled deeply, showing his sharp incisors, obviously scaring the man out of his wits. 


Princess Chamundeswari automatically turned in the direction he was pointing at and her eyes and mouth went wide in astonishment when she caught sight of a number of peacocks and peahens not all that far from them. Three of the peacocks had opened their feathers out to the fullest extent, turning this way and that as they wooed their mates. 

She laughed out loud when she heard the raucous calls the birds exchanged. “Looking at their beauty, one would imagine they would have lovely voices, right?” She laughed again when the peacocks and peahens once again screamed to each other. 

Suddenly, Manu, who had been sleeping on the top of his cage, leaped down and raced across the forest, scattering the ostentation of the colourful birds as they flew up on to the tree branches. 

“Naughty Manu! Come here,” called the princess, laughing some more.

Vijayendran was speechless as he stared at her. The angry woman he had known over the past three days had completely disappeared. In her place was a laughing princess who had jumped off her horse to race after Manu who was about to climb the tree as he chased the peacocks. The prince got down from his horse, a cheerful smile on his handsome face as he took in the lovely scene where the beautiful princess of Kongunadu chased her gentle tiger Manu which in turn was growling at the escaped peacocks. Looping Kethu’s reins around a tree branch, he leaned against the trunk to watch the scene around him. 

Anagha pushed the curtain to one side to look out of the carriage when she heard Princess Chamundeswari’s laughter and was thoroughly amused by Manu’s antics. Just as she wondered if she should get down to go help her mistress, Chamundeswari caught her pet by the scruff of his neck and ordered him back to his cage. 

“If you do not behave, Manu, I will have to lock you in your cage, do you hear?” she scolded him affectionately.

Manu gave a soft growl of acknowledgement before rubbing his head against her sari-clad leg, making it difficult for her to walk. Which only made Princess Chamundeswari laugh all the more. Soon, the two of them, woman and tiger, were rolling on the grass in a mock tug of war. 

Gentle laughter and soft growls permeated the air as Vijayendran and Anagha watched on in amusement.


  1. What a nice excerpt! Whenever I hear of a tiger pet, I think of the Disney movie "Aladdin" where Princess Jasmine had a pet tiger named Rajah. Now I will think of yours too!

  2. Divine mother has got Vanraj as her assistant.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, though I don't get your context