M Y R A T I N G : 4/5 STARS.
Poetic, mesmerising and gripping. These words do not do justice to perfectly describing this book. ‘Sita’s Sister’ is way beyond all of that. Told from the point of view of Urmila, one of the three sisters of Sita, Kavita Kané manages to capture the essence of the epic Ramayana through the eyes of an often overlooked character. I couldn’t have asked for more. It was the best blend of the things I love: mythology, retellings, love, strong female leads and a lot of girl power.
I think, what really makes the book fantastic and poignant is the amount of care that has been taken by the author to present a tale as daunting as the Ramayana in a very interesting format through the perspective of Urmila. Urmila is the embodiment of every desirable trait that makes a strong woman. She is intelligent, quick-witted, charming, fiery and a rebel. Kané perfectly portrays her side characters too, as far as this retelling is concerned. Urmila’s sisters, starting off from Sita, to Mandavi, to Shrutakirti-each one of them manage to reach out and grab the reader effectively. Of course, Ram, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughna, the virtuous brothers one must have heard about certainly in every Indian household are pivotal here. Ram, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu along with Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughna, who are all his followers, bring harmony and peace to their close ones.
One knows how Ram manages to vanquish Evil in the end, but the struggles of the women in the epic were ones which were not given much importance to. ‘Sita’s Sister’ manages to tackle the complex roles of the women in the epic. Kaikeyi’s complex nature is also explained in this book and I felt that it was a successful attempt to change the perspective that the society has about her. It is only because of her that the epic even took place. This marks her importance in the epic.
I also loved the fact that Kané went into every character’s mind and tried to bring out their thoughts and natures in a three-dimensional way, which really explained the depth of their feelings. It is a task that many can’t accomplish perfectly, but Kavita Kanè is truly gifted. She writes with ease and her writing is beautiful. There wasn’t one page which I felt was boring and the story just dragged me away with it and I found myself smiling to have revisited one of the two epics (the other being The Mahabharata) that defined my childhood and continue to define me even today.
A wonderfully delightful, inticately woven read that will have you turning those pages swiftly.
And that’s it! Hope you guys liked reading this very ‘coherent’ review of mine. I’m kidding.