Friday, July 18, 2014

Sita's Curse by Sreemoyee Piu Kundu

Title:  Sitas Curse - The Language Of Desire
Authors: Sreemoyee Piu Kundu
Category: Fiction (Erotica)
Publisher: Hachette India
Date: 2014
Price: Rs. 350
Pages: 344

Snapshot:  This is a story of Meera, a village girl from Gujarat through which the author depicts the desires of a woman and her plight in the Indian society.

The Review:  Meera a daughter and hence neglected right from her birth, being born a twin after a male child Kartik. Growing up with a male sibling till she comes of age is like being an equal. Kartik and Meera were one. However the love was not bounded by dimensions of the womb and extends beyond being brother and sister. Kartik resists the distancing from Meera as she matures and she longs only for him, as for a woman her first touch was him. It's relationship difficult to explain in words. She looses him however as he passes away in an accident, but a woman never forgets her first love and for Meera he was the first being she knew.

Meera is beautiful and as a woman alert enough to notice the eyes that fall upon her, gaze her and lust her, be it her dance teacher or the crowd when she plays Sita in her school plays. Playing Sita over and over again she thinks, relates and eventually through her own life understands how every woman in the orthodox Indian male dominating society is after all a Sita. The parallels between the two characters was the best component of the story.  

She marries Mohan, a man who is not only ten years older, but also belongs to a very orthodox family. The inability to bear an offspring is the next curse after her craving for physical intimacy from an husband who is either not interested or is wild, when what Meera seeks is passion. She is taken to a Maharaj to cure her infertility and the episodes that follow were very uncomfortable. However, the reality being otherwise, there is no choice but surrender. Meera so alone and wanting that she grasps the most frail blade in the name of love, lust of the Maharaj. She however fails to conceive. Her life with Mohan occasionally paying some attention continues, but her thirst drives her to some sexual encounters. Love however is still far like some myth. 

She then discovers the Internet and as with most lonely people goes cyber chatting. Her needs are fulfilled here, for love and desire both. She meets the man Yousuf but after just one meet of passionate love, in an accident he too passes away. Meera blames herself and unable to control her own emotions her affair story is visible to Mohan who physically abuses her. She leaves her house in search of Yousuf's body for one last time, in search of may be herself, in search of love, in search of the fulfilment of her own desires. Will a Sita ever get what she wishes, even a bit of that affection?

This book made me think about lives of the most beautiful women we adore on the silver screen, whom men lusted then and many admire even today Marlyn Monroe, Madhubala and mare more. What did they not have to deserve love.?Why is a woman the more beautiful she is just an object of lust, like a toy, used and forgotten?

The other huge realization which I am not sure many would agree with me here is, one cannot write "just Erotoica" in India. Indian women and even women in may countries are desired but not supposed to have desire. A minimal exhibit of either brands her as a slut or uncultured. Why is desire not accepted of a woman when it is of a man? Biologically speaking both beings have a hormonal system. An Indian woman remains someone who is lusted and even raped but expected to be the object and never the subject. She might be worshipped in temples but oh! that's an illusion for in her own home even the CEO of the biggest multinational is nothing but someone who has to prioritize the needs of her male counterpart and his family. A woman in India is and will always be a Sita, nothing has changed. 

Overall:
Positives:  The writing is very good, Sreemoyee Piu Kundu has set standards that can be paralleled with writing anywhere in the world. The flow is smooth and editing crisp. Language is simple.

Negatives:  The use of Hindi and Gujarati words comes out very prominently than it otherwise against the backdrop of the authors hold over the English language. Most of these words still blend, however the Yousuf's part of dialogues disturbs the equilibrium and could have been avoided.

The Verdict: A recommended read for women and more for men to be able to understand a woman. 4 stars on 5.

About Sreemoyee Piu Kundu
Sreemoyee Piu Kundu is the former Lifestyle editor and PR head who is settled in Delhi. The full-time novelist has also penned Faraway Music and is working on a political tragedy entitled Rahula.
I thank Hachette India for a review copy.



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