All of Kalki’s characters, male and female, are brilliant. I could tell that he was a huge believer in the good of humanity and that he was a romantic. The men are handsome and the women are goddesses walking on earth. They are too good to be true but I liked Ponniyin Selvan in spite of that. It’s partly because of the gripping narration and humor in his storytelling. But the key reason is that I was completely taken in after I met the first formidable female in the book. This kind of equality in the attention given to male and female characters is what, I thought, the world was moving towards. But never did I realise that it was done and dusted sixty years ago.