Kavita Kane, the author of Karna’s Wife has this knack to present the old stories in a completely new avatar. She did so with Karna’s Wife and she has done it again with Sita’s Sister, her latest and that also with a lot of conviction and style.
We all know about the story of Ramayana read it, heard it, seen on TV. Each time it is the same old story. Ashok Banker and Amish Tripathi who had also re-written Ramayana has brought drastic changes in the story, characterizations, introduced action in order to be different. In doing so they took away the real essence of Ramayana that is its heart warmness and family values and bonding. It is here Kavita Kane has stood out. She has kept the same story line with minimal changes to the original story with which we are so familiar. What different she has done is to change the perspective. She has rewritten Ramayana from women point of view in general with the focus on Urmila.
The author has managed to find many gaps in the original Ramayana which she has filled with her creative imagination. Like for example, both the epic and the TV serials are busy depicting the childhood days of four brothers instead Kavita Kane writes about the four sisters and their childhood. Also among the couples the focus is always on Ram and Sita and their feelings, but the author has managed to concentrate on all the four couples with special attention on Urmila and Laxshman. During the exile period we all know where the trio are going and what they are doing but nothing about the happenings back in Ayodhya. Kavita has written about these things thus we get to read a whole new Ramayana with fresh story line.
There is a staunch feminist element, which, I believe, every female readers will simply love it. Questions has always been raised why Ram banished Sita even after Agni Pariksha. But Kavita has went one step ahead. Her protagonist Urmila raised her voice about man’s duty towards his wife and mother as men conveniently choose to ignore them when taking important decision but does not fail to preach women about their duties. Laxhsman and Bharat both chooses to live an exile life without consent of their respective spouses. This tirade of Urmila took place during Bharat Milap, as famously named, was really well written and it blew my mind while reading.
Throughout the book Kavita has raised many family issues concerned with women but she has also shown that it is so easy to create a rift between women. Like Manthra did to four sisters who shared close bonding but failed to do so with the four brothers. This is something very true in our day to day life as well. Also the four sisters reacted differently to the same situation while the four brothers reaction were same. There was a striking contrast between Urmila and Mandavi approach while handling the separation and pressure and one must give credit to the author to bring it out so very well.
Characterization has been incredibly remarkable. Each and every character right from four brothers, four sisters, queen mothers in Ayodhya, Janak, Sunaina, Manthra evolved beautifully, has been given space to bloom, express themselves, voice their thought and make their presence felt. It was an utter delight to read the gossips between the four sisters. Dialogues were of contemporary style. They were not laden with heavy formal conversation. Some may mind as it doesn’t gives feeling of the treta yuga but I was okay with it.
Lastly, Urmila has got her due credit, recognition and admiration which she truly deserved but denied for so many years. All thanks to Kavita Kane for bringing out the most ignorant character of Ramayana and presenting her with so much of majesty and grandeur that readers are bound to fall in love with Urmila. She has been portrayed as a binding force and anchor among the sisters, perfect beauty with brains, fiery yet adorable.
By the way I really liked the jacket of the book. With Ram and Sita together on the back, Laxshman is walking in front with Urmila in the background tells so much in itself. Clearly Pictures speaks thousands words.
The Verdict: The author ended the book abruptly or did I felt why the book ended at all. Why can’t Kavita just continue writing. Anyways it is a five starer book. Highly Recommended.
Also the book has a mention of Menaka and Vishwamitra which intentionally or not so intentionally, I am yet to find out, is the concept of the next book of Kavita Kane which is due to release in the coming year.