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The love-hate relationship between Karna and Draupadi, his hatred for Shakuni, his loyalty to Duryodhana are all seen through the eyes of his wife, Uruvi.
In Karna’s Wife – The Outcast’s Queen, by Kavita Kane, we meet a strong woman, his wife – Uruvi, and see this complex character through her eyes.
Review by Arunima Shekhar
Karna’s wife – The Outcast’s Queen, is a retelling of the epic from the perspective of Karna’s second wife – Uruvi, the Princess of Pukeya, a kshatriya princess married to a sutaputra. The narrative starts at Uruvi’s swayamvar; Karna is already a part of the dushta chathushtayam (the four examples of evil men), the others being Shakuni, Duryodhana and Dushasana. He has already faced public ridicule twice – once at the archery tournament in Hastinapur and then again at Draupadi’s swayamvar, for being a charioteer’s son and born in a low caste.
The Pandavas have faced exile once and have now returned to claim their half of the kingdom. From here onwards, the story unfolds through the eyes of Uruvi, who chooses Karna over Arjuna, her childhood friend, at a scandalous swayamvar.
The tale explores, through Uruvi, the multiple facets of Karna, the father, the son, the husband, the friend, the king; the epitome of moral righteousness, who made all the wrong decisions, owing to his loyalty to Duryodhana, to whom he is indebted for life. Duryodhana accepts him and gives him his due recognition, when the entire world chides him. The passage where Karna explains to Uruvi, why Duryodhana is what he is, leaves you wondering whether a person can really be classified as good or bad; “Duryodhana was doomed before he was even born…he was born a child of hatred and lives to hate...” The love-hate relationship between Karna and Draupadi, his devotion and respect for Krishna, his hatred for Shakuni, his loyalty to Duryodhana are explained as never before.
Uruvi, passionately in love with Karna, and with a wit and intelligence to match the stalwarts of the Kuru kingdom, has to reconcile herself to being the “outcast’s queen”. But after the Rajasuya yagna, she is faced with a new challenge – torn between her love for Karna and her own sense of morality, she is unable to forgive Karna for his transgression after the game of dice in ordering the disrobing of Draupadi and calling her a whore, even when everyone else, including Draupadi, has forgiven him. Filled with a sense of foreboding, she makes a last attempt to change Karna’s loyalties before resigning herself to face the worst.
Karna’s Wife is a must-read for anyone who likes mythology, and Uruvi’s outspoken and ’ahead of her times’ character is one with which most Indian women today will easily identify.
Publisher: Rupa Publications
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In the last few days I was having a conversation with my younger sister about relationships, and she said something which hit me hard.
I have seen a lot of people feel uncomfortable sharing their age, but I have no such hesitations. I am 32 years old and my younger cousins tell me that I belong to the ‘old generation’. If you are born in the year 1990, you are still considered among them, but if a year less – 1989, you are from the old school.
Being an elder sister, my cousins come to me seeking advice about studies, career and relationships, but when I try to help in the way I understand, the only reply I get is, “Didi, leave it, you’ll not understand it. Aapki generation aur hamari generation mein bahut fark hai. (There’s a lot of difference between your and my generation).”
In the last few days I was having a conversation with my younger sister about relationships, and she said something which hit me hard. Though she is from the new generation and I am from the so-called old generation, we share a lot of mutual thoughts and interests. We spoke about love, how the generation born after the year 2000 perceives love.
You ask any SATC fan. We all wanted a friendship like the one that the 4 girls shared. A friendship that was a rock. A friendship that seemed to withstand the tests of time and in general, life.
I confess that SATC (Sex and the City) has a special place in my heart. I must have watched the 6 seasons and every single episode at that, countless times. Seriously, there was nothing like sitting back with a glass of wine, a bar of dark chocolate and an episode of SATC, after a hard day at work. It renewed me. Made me laugh.
So much so, that I even ended up going for the special SATC bus tour when I visited New York in 2019.
Now some may call the show frivolous but for me, it was pure, honest entertainment. I was in love with the fashion, the ‘fabulousness’, the fun! And it had its moments as well. Moments that were truly thought-provoking, moments that made its viewers take a good, candid look at their own relationships, particularly their female friendships.