'The Forest Of Enchantments' Review: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Does Justice To The Women Of Ramayana

Studying a book via Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is a completely happy revel in. For me, individually, it has to do with the simplicity of her language and context that doesn’t appear compelled or plugged in for the sake of it. I additionally love the plots of her tales — for probably the most section, they really feel rooted actually. The reader can relate to the topics of Divakaruni’s books immensely — with the flip of each and every web page, there’s no selection however to be drawn in.

The Wooded area of Enchantments is Sita’s tale. However no longer simply Sita’s, that is the tale of the ladies of the Ramayana, and Divakaruni does greater than sufficient justice to them in her retelling.

Everyone knows how the Ramayana performs out. The Indian epic has been retold a couple of instances in books and flicks via folks with differing issues of view. There were feminist retellings as neatly, via Samhita Arni and Nina Paley, to call a couple of. Divakaruni’s model reminds her readers that the Ramayana, but even so being a morality story, is a love tale at its center — a sad one, created via misunderstandings and bounds of religion and constancy.

In The Wooded area of Enchantments, Divakaruni trains her lens on each the most important and minor ladies characters of the Ramayana.

Whilst the ebook is basically about Sita, the voices of the opposite ladies of the epic — even Kaikeyi and Manthara — are given their due. Come what may, a majority of these ladies want to be redeemed via Rama, or they search their finish purpose via him — Divakaruni cleverly offers with this and provides all of them distinctive voices.

The ebook additionally asks tricky questions on what transpired within the epic — those come with a relook at Soorpanakha’s position, the male entitlement that runs during the tale in addition to the nature of Mandodari. I cherished the connection between Mandodari and Sita whilst the latter used to be in captivity.

The male characters, on the other hand, appear somewhat one-dimensional, although this is much less Divakaruni’s fault and extra to do with how the boys themselves are — most commonly alpha, sure via responsibility and what’s proper or fallacious. It’s the ladies of the epic that perceive and relate to sun shades of gray.

We see Sita as Divakaruni needs us to look her, and but there are such a large amount of sun shades to her. She causes. She fights. She agonises. And above all, she needs to say her voice and say what she has to. Studying The Wooded area of Enchantments, one can’t lend a hand however evaluate it with the opposite variations written sooner than — right here, I’m susceptible to exclude male writers (similar to Anand Neelakantan and Devdutt Pattanaik used to be extra about Ramayana as an entire than Sita in point of fact) since the remedy is other when a girl writes about ladies. In The Wooded area of Enchantments, Divakaruni trains her lens on each the most important and minor ladies characters of the Ramayana — it doesn’t subject how a lot time they get or no longer within the ebook, it’s in regards to the position of ladies in an epic and the way their voices are continuously muted.

The writing is whole. You get to grasp the whole thing — from Sita’s start to how she married Rama, to the exile, to Ravana kidnapping her, to Lakshman’s position in all of this, to her a success rescue, to the banishing of Sita all over again, to the start of her kids, and to in the end the predictable finish. The finishing is what one would be expecting it to be — it wouldn’t be a spoiler to mention that the calls for of staying true to the unique tale take priority over the empowerment of ladies and that, to me, may just’ve been handled higher.

Divakaruni does greater than sufficient justice to this epic narrative. Her readers will internalise Sita’s tale because the creator problematises what it method to be a girl, then and now. The Wooded area of Enchantments isn’t just a retelling of a much-told epic, somewhat this is a ebook that tells it love it is — balanced and non-judgmental.

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