13 July, 2016

#BookReview :: Urmila by Pervin Saket

Recapturing the mythical journey of love and longing in contemporary India

Inspired by the story of Lakshman’s wife from Ramayana, Urmila traces a tale of rejection and a woman’s passionate search for love, rekindling questions of devotion and desire.

The talented and passionate Urmila Karmarkar has recently married into a wealthy, politically connected family in suburban Mumbai. When Urmila’s brother-in-law is compelled to move to Dubai, her husband leaves her behind and chooses to follow him instead. Fuelled by this rejection, Urmila seeks solace in her art as she battles to keep her dreams of love and motherhood alive, waiting for her husband to return.

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Urmila is the story of a woman who is married into a well-established and connected family.  Her life after marriage isn’t what women typically dream of. Wedded into a family where she has no worth and is treated unkindly, she cannot even hope for support from her husband. Giving herself completely to her art is the only way she finds some semblance of normalcy. But when her art lands her in trouble, what or who does she turn to?

I had the opportunity to do an interview with the author for my blog and as such it gave me an insight to the book even before I started reading it. For instance, Urmila, our protagonist is inspired by Lakshman’s wife of the same name. When Ram, Sita and Lakshman left for the exile, Urmila stayed back at the behest of her husband. She is the ‘Sleeping Princess’ of Ramayana, who played her part but no one ever talks about her. In this book our protagonist has somewhat a similar fate and it felt like that she represented numerous women around the world whose sacrifices and contributions go unnoticed. When Urmila’s brother-in-law moves to Dubai, her husband follows his elder brother leaving her behind. To Urmila, it felt like a betrayal as he seemed to have made his decision without sparing a thought for her. She has nothing else to do but to live and deal with unkind family members.

I am not sure whether I liked our protagonist completely. There were moments where I wished she dealt with things differently and then there were moments where I was totally aligned with her. I guess that shows the many shades that the author has used to paint her character. Besides her there are few solid characters in the storyline whose actions impact Urmila’s life; these characters have been developed well enough to not let the reader ignore them. The plot on the whole is quite simple and its climax is totally the best part of it. The tale is beautifully narrated with a dainty language that compliments both the intricacies of each character and the story telling style on the whole.

I know, everything sounds simple and average and you might feel like giving a second thought about picking this one up. But trust me, the simplicity in which everything is handled and delivered is what makes this book extraordinary. Give it a try.

Review Copy received from Jaico Publishing House

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