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Kavita Kané Collection - Book Review

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The stories of already established mythological works from the point of view of an almost invisible character has given way to the contemporary genre of retellings and mythological fictions. Among these, a strong voice has been that of the women who were mere props in the metanarratives that were written with patriarchal ideals.
Kavita Kané’s Karna’s Wife, Sita’s Sister, and Menaka’s Choice are newbies in mythological retellings and fictions. The three books are love stories of side tracked voiceless women in the grand narratives. What the books do is that, introduce the readers to characters that they might not have thought about, like that of Uruvi, Urmila, and Menaka respectively and yet hail them based on the favourite patriarchal feature associated with women, self-sacrifice. The three books have their women protagonists smitten in love and eventually subjugated by it.

In these stories, the storytelling is quite contemporary as opposed to the characters who are eon old. Such a t…

An Evening in a Mad Man's Life

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One January evening in a small mining town, Pralav decided to meet his old friend. His friend had returned to town after five years. They had known each other since their first day in an engineering college. For the most part of their job, they had been colleagues. At the age of 57, Pralav, feeling quite right in his head after a few months of dullness, wanted to visit his friend in his new house. Or, so he made it seem to his friend.
Over the 32 years of his occupation, he had gotten used to whispers that surrounded him. “Mad, he is crazy.” “He is not in his right mind.” “Oh, what was he talking? Is he active these days?” “Just listen to him.” “Poor man.” “It’s a pity.” “His life isn’t even worth living.” PTSD has a strange way of unfolding. Two near death mining accidents later, Pralav was admitted for psyche consult which perhaps would have helped him had mental disorders been an open talk in the town. People assumed him to be a mad man because he needed the consult. The whispers…

Confessions of a Biased Book Lover

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Books, like babies, are adorable. The moment you hold either of them, you feel a kind of happiness you had never felt before. It’s satisfying but also scary. You are grateful for it, but at the same time, there is a constant nagging and fear in your head to take care of it, lest it is harmed. Books and babies have another thing in common apart from being bundles of joy. No one talks of how they come into existence.
As far as babies are concerned, talking about their inception is a social taboo. And, even if the procedure that takes place after the inception is explained in details in Biology books of Class VII, Class X, and Class XII, the sterile words hardly make sense in the truest sense to a hopeless uninterested student like me. I am still unsure of what exactly happens once the egg is fertilized, zygotes probably formed, and something with fallopian tubes or maybe not. Like I mentioned, hopelessly uninterested. But, to save my soul, I now know that babies aren’t thrown down from…

Women, Career, and Men

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I did not want to make this an issue about men and women. Although I do wonder if in many urban relationships, a woman usually wants to pursue her career before settling for marriage. My brother told me about a pair of his friends who were dating but weren’t 'settling'. I asked naively, “why?” He said, “one of them wants to get married, and the other wants to focus on career.” I asked again, “who wants to keep working?” He replied, “who do you think?” “Yeah, the girl”, I said.  
That conversation has stayed with me for more than a year now. While career is no easy choice for anyone, is it more important to women? Does the traditional gender role make the urban women have the need to prove themselves outside home? And, because men are expected to work, does marriage becomes an easy choice once they have a job?
In one year, I have heard a friend or a friend of friend, every now and then, excuse herself from marriage market because she wants to be someone before being what is expec…

The Prism that Our Brain is

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There comes a day when we have to stop using our past as an excuse for who we are in the present. Past is supposed to be accepted. Many a times, it does seem that we have accepted it. It does seem that we have made peace with who we have become because of our past. And, if it is bad we do hope to take charge of what we do now, because we do not want to blame our today for the things we do in future.
True that. But the haunting question is, what do we do with our past where we weren’t the protagonists? What if, our past has been entertaining others with its limelight? We were not backstage and we had no role to play apart from being an audience. We laughed when the acts got funny and we cried when grief took over. And, every time we had the stage to ourselves, we thought about what the acts of others left us with. We didn’t have the brain to analyse it. We missed a few shows at times, perhaps, escaped the theatre because we didn’t know how to live just as a mute audience.
It is then,…

An Early Life Crisis of 90's Kids Around Me

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A couple of days after Diwali, a friend called me to talk about his life which included quitting his job and not knowing what to do next. He needed help. And I said, tell me one person who doesn’t these days! The thing is what used to be known as a mid-life crisis has turned into an early life crisis. You do not need to have a steady job you dislike, and that may or may not pay well to feel in your mid-thirties, what's the point of this? You do not need experience to ask yourself, what am I doing with my life, or where is this all going? You do not need to be a grown up thirty something to realise that life doesn’t make any sense and the struggle to go on is way more difficult than imagined.
The thing with my generation, the 90’s kids, is that we are a generation of in-betweens. Not surprisingly, we are stuck between the generations that are divided between ‘do what you should do’ and ‘do whatever you want to do’. We are the generation that’s longing to become something it loves to…

Asha and Her Sand Castle

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Her mother, lying on her back, was soaking in what was left of the setting sun. Lights were turning on. Without caring about the time of the day, there she sat, the six year old Asha in the sand. She was trying so hard to gather the wet sand and pile it up. She wanted to make her own castle, a castle she always dreamt of. Her twin brother stopped by her side every now and then. Most of the times, he messed up her small built tower. She was annoyed, but a lousy brother can not let a princess give up on her castle, can he?
She wanted perfection. Castle after castle, she sat back to have a good look at her creation every time. She made a pyramid, but it didn’t have grace. She made a tomb, but it was too depressing. Nothing discouraged her. She had a dream, and she was confident to make it real. She looked at her sleeping mother. No ideas were going to come from her. She saw her brother play in the water. Her father was nowhere to be seen. She was alone, she was covered in sand, and she wa…