Monday, January 16, 2017

Surpanakha was never wronged by Lord Ram and Lakshman; still, we blame them!


You know I love readings books and if it relates to mythology, you've got me glued to every page! It is never easy to recreate the character and the inner world of already known characters - the challenges are many and quite tricky for a writer. 

In the mythology genre, Kavita Kane is my favorite writer.  Her books Karna's Wife and Menaka's Choice had me spell bound!. Kavita Kane brought every character to life and I simply loved both these books. [My post in Writers Melon: Why are Kavita Kane's mythological narratives so compelling to read? ]

                                      [Source: Kavita Kane's Facebook page]

If you have read the Ramayana, you already know a little about the story of Surpanakha - the ''wronged'' sister of Ravana. In this novel, the author gives readers a glimpse of the inner world of Surpanakha - her childhood, her relationships with her parents and siblings, particularly Ravana. 

Surpanakha's nature is vulnerable and strong - an interesting paradox - similar to that of a stubborn child who wants attention and when she doesn't get it when she has to have it, she knows exactly how to get it. She manipulates people and situations to get things done her way even when she knows it boomerangs on her at the end.


The revelations in Kavita Kane's latest novel, Lankas's Princess, tell you why Surpanakha did what she did, why she thought in a certain way and why she manipulated her brother to be provoked by her narrative of how Lord Ram and Lakshman had treated her and all of this finally led to the abduction of Sita.

You also get to know that Ravana is a serial rapist - and the revelation is made by his own sister and mother! We also get to know about the curse on Ravana that forced him to behave like a gentleman towards Sita while she lived in Lanka. 

A couple of times it was tough for me to turn the pages of this book - only because I found it hard to come to terms with a woman as sweet, innocent and yet deceitful as Surpanakha seems to be: a sister who continuously goads her brother to abduct another woman who is already married to someone else and she even goads her brother in the presence of his wife! 


Ravana had loved her more than anything but she plans for his destruction at every step of the way, even at the cost of causing the deaths of innocent family members including her own son and her brother's son!

This book gives me something precious in the end - it tells me that Surpanakha and Ravana were not as wronged by Lord Ram and Lakshman as others made it out to be.

I am most certainly awaiting Kavita Kane's next book because she brings to life a meaningful narrative of mythological characters that have been much misunderstood and maligned. Through her narrative, she creates a realistic portrayal that makes readers want to inhabit that world. 

Who is your least favorite character in the Ramayana and why? 

Do write in and share your thoughts. I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips

Time flies faster than we can imagine.  A little girl who is the ''music" of our home is now celebrating her birthday, continents apart. Her birthday is on January 6th and it brought back many sweet childhood memories. She is away from home but never far from our thoughts or my heart. 

Geethu and I, as sisters, grew up together and as most of those who know us already will know, we are absolute opposites but we complement each other in a beautiful way. But let me confess, growing up with a super intelligent kid who could breathe, think and talk science and maths like a pro was a traumatic experience for the older sibling - namely, me. It didn't help that she was also one of the best in all types of sports and we had no space to keep all the certificates and prizes she won for her school in different sports categories. Well, I spared my parents the trauma of having to store my certificates or trophies of glory by not having any...lol! 


What I think is most amazing is how my parents have never compared the two of us in any category but they have been quietly proud of the unique strengths we had, which in a strange way, complemented one another. 

Often, at PTMs and other social interactions, I see many young parents compare their children's strengths and weaknesses with other people in front of their kids. Siblings have feelings too when compared and I wish parents respected that. Of course, I am not a child expert here but I do know that I am glad my parents never did that to me.

As my sister and I grew older, our bond became stronger and more mature. We sought each other's opinions on everything that matters to us. We always had opposite opinions on most things, but that has never caused a dent in our relationship. 

Differences apart, there is also an unspoken code that runs true for us as it often does between most sisters - you mess with one, the other is out for your blood - don't even dream of being forgiven. 

I can take criticism about myself but the slightest criticism about my sister - you've had it and you've earned an unforgiving enemy for life. I am being very candid about this here. This is how I am and I think that this is how most sisters are when it comes to each other. 

Now, as we grow older and sillier, not any wiser with each other, we find ourselves sharing every little thing with each other. She has a practical, methodical approach to solving day-to-day challenges. Her time-management and planning skills are amazing. She starts her day as early as 3 AM and is very clear about what to get done at each time slot. We are each other's strongest critics and yet we are much crazier about each other's kids. My sister has the quirkiest sense of humor and the target is usually......well, me. She makes me laugh like no one else and she knows me best. 

I can't help saying that she also happens to be one of the very few people in my life whose love I take for granted. I know that no matter what I say or do, she will stick with me. 


Throughout the years, she has always stood by my decisions and when I went through some of the toughest tests in my life, she gave me the courage to believe that everything happens for a reason and while that reason may not be apparent, it is what will help us to grow and be strong.

My mother always used to long for a sister because there are many things that you can share only with a sister. She used to say that Geethu and I are so lucky to have each other. While we were growing up, we used to scowl every time she said this. But now we say this to our children because we want them to know that they are lucky to have each other and we want the bond between us to continue to grow through our children.

When Adi was born, Geethu's batchmates traveled all the way from Marthandam to Kochi just to see my son. They came as a group to stay at home and they were so overwhelmed to hold a newborn baby and I felt my heart burst with happiness because though I didn't know her friends well, they had undertaken a long journey and come all the way to welcome my baby.

I am still in touch with them because every relationship is sacred in our life and they have a special place in the journey of our hearts.

Life has taught me that people we expect nothing from surprise us all the time. For the same reason, I try very hard to nurture all relationships just as I have seen my father do. If he has helped ten people, probably one person remembers and the rest move on in life without even thanking him. I have seen him remain unperturbed by this. 

While I don't have my father's patience, I do understand that human nature is complex and that no matter how much we try, we always fall short in the eyes of another. You could help someone find a decent job that helps his/her family in a significant way and later find that same person work against you. How others behave is never in our control, how we behave is a reflection of our core human values and that is within our control.

I find that children are different from grown ups - they respond to love and attention, like a flower opens up to sunshine. This is why I want to talk to my niece every day - that she is a miniature replica of me puts me in a fun spot because I feel like I am talking to a facet of myself and having lots of fun! [Do read2016: The Year That Taught Me That Nothing is Impossible]



When my nephew Vihaan talks to me about his school and my niece Aishani calls out my name, every morning when I call her on Viber, I feel an ocean of love swell up within my heart. 

They are mine to love and cherish as much as they are my sister's.



And I tell Adi what my mother once told me, "You are blessed to have each other because this relationship is what will hold you to each other always."

I still miss the daily squabbles with my sister. But you know, it gets difficult to pick fights across continents.


"In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips."  — Whoever said that, you got it right!

Followers

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed

India is my Country & my Pride