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The Palace of Illusions - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Most of you who know me well, will know that I am a strong advocate of feminism – not the bra burning kind but of the kind that will seethe in rage at the blind acceptance of patriarchy. Patriarchal systems are so ingrained in the cultural norms of India that it will take more than a few hundred generations to eradicate. I won’t go into elaborate examples here because that is not the point of this post. However, The Palace of Illusions serves to challenge the manner in which the Mahabharata, one of India’s greatest mythological epics is narrated; this time, from a woman’s perspective. Yes, the Mahabharata here is presented to us from the eyes of Panchaali or Draupadi as she is more popularly referred to.
Divakaruni takes us through Draupadi’s journey from when she was born into the lap of luxury as a Princess to her doting father King Drupad to her many struggles as ‘wife’ to her 5 husbands – The Pandavas. The book is half myth, half fiction but is entirely enchanting. Whilst Draupadi…

The Marriage Bureau For Rich People - Farahad Zama

‘The Marriage Bureau for Rich People’ is the first of a four part series by Farahad Zama. I happened to chance upon this book as I was browsing through book sites in my hunt for something engaging to read. To start with, the title itself grabbed my attention. The theme of the book, as the name suggests quite blatantly is about the operations of a marriage bureau. I gravitated further towards the book because it implied that the marriage bureau was tailored to a specific social class. I then read the synopsis and that was it! I had to read this book.
After having lived abroad for many years now, I’ve realised how intriguing the concept of Arranged Marriage is for people who don’t share cultural similarities with India. I get asked so many times about my opinion on this arrangement and every time I explain to them that the nature of arranged marriage is slowly evolving with the ‘arranger’ playing the role of facilitator rather than that of oppressor (which unfortunately, is the usual mi…

Family Matters - Rohinton Mistry

I was mulling over which book to review first. Choosing just one from my many favourites was quite a task but I decided to choose ‘Family Matters’ by Rohinton Mistry as it revolves around certain archetypes that are close to my heart – family, caring for the elderly and the city where I was born and raised, Bombay.
The protagonist of the book, Nariman Vakeel, is an endearing sort of fellow. You instantly empthaise with him as he grapples with the debilitating nature of Parkinson’s disease amidst the many vagaries of old age. He must, along with his health problems; deal with what the author alludes to as ‘family matters’. These involve managing household finances, carrying out mundane chores, dealing with each other’s idiosyncrasies and still managing to function as one relatively sane unit. The other characters in the book namely Nariman’s stepchildren and his own daughter and her nuclear family are also brilliantly crafted by Rohinton Mistry who according to me is a master wordsmith.…

Indian Fiction - The Essence

I have always been fond of writing and have found myself starting pieces of written work without deriving the desired satisfaction. Maybe it was the pressure that I put on myself to write, by viewing the art of writing as an end in itself rather than a means to achieve an end. I think I've found this 'end' - my love for Indian Fiction.
The essence of this blog will aim at giving you my perspective on various books that today constitute the genre of 'Indian Fiction'. I have been a huge fan of many Indian authors and many a times am saddened to learn that they are not widely read. The blog therefore, is a humble attempt on my behalf to be able to reach out to to anybody and everybody who can read and is willing to explore this beautiful genre that I believe has been ignored for far too long. 
The image accompanying this blog is quintessentially Indian and I hope that like the myriad flavours of this much loved condiment, the books that I review here will appease your r…