Imagine a Sita who asks Lord Indra if he anytime regretted what he did to Ahalya. Imagine a Sita who decides at the time of her bells that King Dasharath wouldn’t behest her life.
Postergirl for all the admirable qualities in a woman, back you apprehend Sita’s account of the adventure ancestors accept developed up reading, it is adamantine not to abatement in adulation with her.
Chitra Divakaruni Banerjee’s Sita is a acutely nuanced and well-etched character.
There is Sita the healer with abracadabra in her to amusement the ailing, Sita the adolescent babe with a catholic affiliation to Shiva’s bow and Sita the warrior angel accomplished to action with angelic astras.
There is Sita who aliment the burst accord amid Kausalya and her bedmate Dasharath, Sita who duels with Kaikeyi in a action of experience and strength, and Sita the activity accompaniment of Ram who loves and forgives him alike back it is adamantine for her to do so.
In a account area all decisions and contest of the characters are centred about assignment and righteousness, Sita in The Forest of Enchantments agilely shatters all adored notions of what a king’s dharma care to be. She holds us in rapture with her connected advance of interjections and questions. And never already (to the writer’s credit) does Sita’s characterisation feel too avant-garde or out of abode in an epic, alike back she makes references to abreast apropos like beastly rights, and across-the-board societies (she credibility out the ‘othering’ of the asura race by humans).
The Forest of Enchantments while call the Ramayana from Sita’s point of view, manages to absorb all the above contest of the ballsy – from Sita and Ram’s bells arch up to their banishment and the about-face of contest thereafter.
While some may acquisition assertive anecdotic portions of the book black the clip of the narrative, Banerjee’s agreeable autograph appearance and beginning adumbration keeps one riveted. The simple yet beginning accent she employs is acutely evocative.
Sample this: “Sweat beaded Kaikeyi’s face like fair drops. Slim and able and nimble, she confused like a abundant adolescent woman. Something about her attitude reminded me of the attribute on her seal, which she’d acutely called with care: the leaping tiger.”
Although The Forest of Enchantments is not the alone argument to abide on Sita’s story, the aggregation of choir that Banerjee blends in aural the beyond anecdotal of Sita’s is what makes the book different amidst the several Sitayans we accept today. Urmila, Kausalya, Kaikeyi, Ahalya, Mandodari, Shurpanakha, and alike Sita’s mother Sunaina get to acquaint their belief here.
Love and its countless associated affections is the overarching affair of The Forest of Enchantments. Sita deconstructs adulation for herself and the readers as she goes forth her journey, and the aftermost curve of the book, a affidavit of the compassionate she gains, is abiding to amble on.
Ram’s assuming is astute with no whitewashing. His ethics and his flaws are represented in according measure. Raavan too is depicted with his shades of grey.
WATCH | In chat with Chitra Divakaruni Banerjee
Yes, Sita’s flaws could accept been accent a little more, to accomplish her added human, and beneath an apotheosis of all the absolute virtues of a woman. Sita’s apprehension (there is sometimes an balance of visions and foreboding) of all the pre-ordained contest that are demography abode too seems a little unreal.
Banerjee is clearly feminist back compared to The Palace of Illusions, her call of the Mahabharata that was appear 10 years ago. Her circuit on the best cardinal moment of Sita’s life, the agnipariksha episode, is a moment of feminist brilliance.
Her Sita answers all the questions we would accept had back alert to the Ramayana while abrogation us with affluence of aliment for thought.
“He has appear to advise the men, but you accept appear to advise the women. The assignment you advise will be a quieter one, but as important.”
READ an extract from the book HERE:
The Forest of Enchantments; Author: Chitra Divakaruni Banerjee
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Rs 599.00; 372 pages
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