The author in her introduction has clearly mentioned that it is the grey areas of mythology that interest her and this is one tale that has been obscured in confusion through the ages. She does not claim to unravel its mystery, rather she gives her take on it.
Her description of King Sambara is beautifully penned, leaving you with a slightly sick feeling in the pit of your stomach at how loathsome he is. She has also managed to catch the essence of Sage Narada when she says, “being a friend of Narada is equivalent to being an enemy of Narada” and his tremendous capacity to cause confusion.
It is indeed a short story and keeps you wanting more.
Honestly, I found it difficult to write a review for this book, because it was at the same time both interesting and irritating.
I found it interesting because of all the titbits of fascinating information about the gods and their lives and their scheming that are little known. The author has obviously done a lot of research and there were times where I, a diehard fan of Indian mythology, went, “Oh! Is it? That is something I didn’t know!”
It was irritating because it brings home the fact that nothing has changed through the ages. The gods are as fallible as men. They go about granting boons to anyone who strokes their ego with devotion, without any thought of what chaos and destruction the boon is going to bring about.
Then and now, it seems, physical beauty is more important in the choice of a mate. You have Ganesha with all his qualities, wisdom and powers wooing Riddhi, yet she prefers him as Sumukha . She cannot or does not want to accept him in his half human, half elephant form.
Siddhi, in a past life immolates herself because the one she falls in love with does not return her love and she feels slighted. Does a woman only have a reason to live if someone loves her back?
I feel so terribly sorry for Mandodari. She has been created exclusively to cater to Ravan’s lust and to deflect his thoughts from Parvati. Her entire life is given up to pleasing him and enduring all his philandering in the hope that one day he will belong only to her. We all know how that ended.
The author however does have a great narrative style and her language is impeccable. As you read, the scenes unfold before you and I swear I could almost hear Ganesha sulk when things did not go his way.
So though I prefer her “Pradyumna: Son of Krishna” and “The Secret of God’s son” to Prem Purana, I am rather glad I decided to read this one.
Avni is such a girl. When the man she loves and cares for wholeheartedly, throws her a curve ball, she chooses to walk away. What comes next for Avni?