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Sita’s Curse by Sreemoyee Piu Kundu is a must-read for contemporary women, exploring women’s desires that are often suppressed in our society.
Sita’s Curse by Sreemoyee Piu Kundu is being labelled as the first ‘Feminist Erotica’ novel in India. It is quite an important genre to begin with, given the oppression of sexual liberty in Indian women. Even before I start writing about the book, I can easily predict that it will be shunned by innumerable readers (after they’ve read it in hope of some raunchy scenes).
Sita’s Curse is about Meera, a Gujarati housewife settled in the obscure lanes of Mumbai. She has a tumultuous yet ecstatic childhood with her twin brother Kartik. They understand each other through some cosmic bonds that only twins can share. Later, Meera is married to Mohan from Mumbai. And much later, she moves in with him and his family in a semi-chawl.
Meera is not an extraordinary woman. Or may be she is. As one progresses through the lines and pages in her life, a small incident here or a feeling there seems to be taken from the readers’ lives. Meera has the usual desires of a woman, those which are forbidden in our society, those we cannot be vocal about. She is shattered when her husband, marriage and home don’t turn out the way she had expected them to be. Yet, she tries to win over them, to love and understand them, to surrender herself to them. Her efforts turn futile as she fails to conceive a child, not for her own fault though.
The treatment of unfruitful women in our society, the domestic violence and mental torture that they have to face are an integral part of Meera’s story. Things turn fatal when these are blended with superstition and religious fanaticism. Amarkant Maharaj thus enters Meera’s life, meant to be a Messiah. His spiritual strings and ideas get intertwined with Meera’s unquenchable thirst for the unknown. The men in Meera’s life are important the way in they treat her and vice versa. Kartik, Mohan, Amarkant Maharaj and Yosuf – all play critical roles in shaping Meera the way she is.
The latter half of the book is probably more intriguing than the former. The author introduces an interesting angle spanning a short time in Meera’s later life comprising of the Mumbai floods of July 2005 and her encounter with Yosuf. Love surpasses every desire and Meera embarks on the most important journey of her life after a tragedy.
The author has woven a cocoon of a story around her protagonist Meera. Erotica is not the main focus of this book in my opinion, Meera is. Erotica is only what happens daily in our lives. The courage to spew it in words is a lot to take and the author has been successful in her mission.
Meera is beautiful, bold, sensuous, loving, and everything all women are. This is a must-read book for contemporary women, to explore a part of themselves that is waiting to be set free from the barbed cage of our society.
Publisher: Hachette India
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Aspiring author, frequent blogger, book critic, freelance editor.
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