Author: Koral Dasgupta
Page: 204 Rating: 5/5
Indian mythology is full of characters that surprise us with their lives and personalities. Women in Indian mythology have especially fascinated us; their unfair lives, their virtuous character, wisdom, beauty and the status they are given. They have played significant roles- as the divine mother, as a noble queen, as a holy sage, as a wise leader and as a cursed being…
Ahalya is regarded as one of the Pancha Kanyas. The story is narrated from her perspective, which is what makes this unique. In the Puranas, we have only heard of her story through another person’s narrative. Here, we get to know Ahalya’s part of the story. She narrates the story of her life from her creation by Lord Brahma to her marriage to Gautam, her curse and the release of the curse. In between, we come to know about Ahalya’s emotions, her growth, how she successfully copes with the drastic situations and so on. We appreciate her courage to make life better, her acceptance of the circumstances, the knowledge she acquires… We see another angle of Ahalya’s story. More than a woman who got cursed for her infidelity, we see a wise, hardworking, determined young woman.
Coming to the writing style, the writer presents Ahalya in a poetic manner, with elaborate descriptions of her thoughts and her surroundings. What makes this retelling of an age old tale special is its symbolism and thought-provoking words. In short, the book is mystical and intriguing.
Ahalya is the first book from the Sati Series- a reinvention of Pancha Kanyas and their men in the modern context with a feminist consciousness. I’m really looking forward to the next books in this series.
There are some beautiful quotes from the book worth mentioning:
“Love makes us look at life with a glittery sheen. Love makes you perceive beauty”
“Go woman, find your world yourself. The joy you seek deserves to be discovered”
“Such is the voice of a teacher. It seeps into the mind through unseen pores and inspires the intelligence”
About the Photo: In the book, Ahalya receives a sari as a gift which is yellow in colour and has beetroot-violet borders. I attempted to recreate that sari with my mother’s sari. Don’t know if it turned out good, but it’s fun clicking pictures that are inspired by the book itself.