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Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Review : ‘Kamadeva - The God of Desire' by Anuja Chandramouli

Anuja Chandramouli’s latest offering is quite different from the previous ‘Arjuna - Saga of a Pandava Warrior Prince’. I did think Arjuna reminded me of the Amar Chitra Katha version of the  ‘Mahabharata’, but that is where ‘Kamadeva - The God of Desire' is different. I remember reading enough Kamadeva in ACK but I do not think it ever carried a version, such as this.

So, I was surprised to hear that the reincarnation of Kama was none other than Pradyumna. (Spoiler Alert) Maybe, I should have read a lot more ACK. But, nevertheless, Chandramouli’s book more than makes up for it. It starts off with the creation of Kamadeva by Bramha, the Creator. I read about Saraswathi’s original name, and how she came to be. Very interesting. And then Kama, of course. But it is not as interesting as Rati’s birth.

Kamadeva who is the Hindu god of love and desire, carries a sugarcane bow and flower-tipped arrows. Rati, who is born to a prajapti, Daksha who has the task of populating the world. For Rati and Kama, it was love and lust at first sight. The two take up residence at Amaravathi where Kama befriends Indra. The pair of them set up house there and it is where Kamadeva and Rati start on their work and life. He also meets with Priti, whom he takes on as his second wife.

Anuja Chandramouli
Kamadeva incurs Shiva’s rage, when he finds himself face to face with the dreaded third eye. Turned to ashes in a minute, whereas his wife Rati finds herself paying an earnest entreaty to Shiva whom she insists, undo the curse. Shiva who takes pity on her, offers her a wish. He says that Kama would be reborn to Krishna, on earth and she, herself would be reborn as an Asura queen.

How the two of them meet makes for a complicated piece of their story. How the two meet, how she fights the odds to be one with her lover, how he must live as an earthling and take on more than one wife, is part of this almost witty and adventurous story.

It makes for an interesting read and has an odd use of the English language in a way, which I have never seen before. Kudos to Chandramouli for the way, in which she describes the story, with an all new taste of wit and laughter.

I was wondering why she did not mention Rati in the title of the book, because this was as much Rati’s story, if not more.

Author: Anuja Chandramouli
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Rupa Publications
ISBN: 978-80-291-3459-2
Price: Rs 295/-

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