Lanka’s Princess – a Book Review

I am not an ardent fan of mythological fiction as I believe mythology could itself be a fiction. But two years ago, I had met the author at Pune International Literary festival. Kavita Kane is an articulate, learned and a dignified person and I had a chance to interact with her briefly. Naturally I wanted to try her writings. Lanka’s Princess is my second mythological fiction which I have read from cover to cover. Not only this, after finishing the book once, I reread a large part of it.  Every story may not have a happy ending but irrespective of one’s personal faith, every tale has a universal message, a takeaway. The good always triumphs over evil. Lanka’s Princess reinforces the fact that every human being however evil he/she is, has a positive side to their character. Likewise however good a person is, there is a grey side to him/her.  Ram personified perfection but he was gullible enough to believe in hearsay and ask his beloved wife to give agnipreeksha to prove her chastity. Ram was full of wisdom but couldn’t handle a girl trying to seduce him. He had to ask Lakshman to teach her a lesson which ultimately became the cause of the war between Ram and Ravan. Ravan was a cruel person but he wouldn’t touch an unwilling woman.

No one is born evil, circumstances draw the animal out even from a kind soul. The way it did to Surpanakha born as Meenakshi. Would Ramayana be written differently if Surpanakha was loved by her family, if she wouldn’t have lost the three persons she loved the most? She is a monster, an asur who annihilated her family, her country to take avenge. Burning in the fire of hatred, all she wanted was revenge for the wrongs done to her as a child, as a young woman, as a married woman and a mother. The reader can emphasize with a person who has lost everything. Is it possible for such a woman to live a normal life? The reader may not root for her but you hope that she finds peace if not happiness.

‘Take ownership for one’s action. It is easy to blame others for one’s miseries but it takes only a hero to be responsible for one’s acts.’ Urmila comes across as a wiser woman that Sita but then it is Sita who is worshipped and not Urmila. Why?

What makes Lanka’s Princess a page turner is not just the engrossing tale but also immaculate language, exquisite vocabulary and splendid prose. Kavita is amazing at drawing emotions out from the characters. Love, lust, grief – every emotion is expressed beautifully to craft the characters. I confess I find myself drawing towards mythological fiction. This is my first read of 2018 and I spent about a week to finish this book. As far as reading is concerned, Lanka’s Princess is a beautiful start to 2018. Happy New Year!