Skip to main content

Before We Visit The Goddess - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

When I received this book for review, I was overwhelmed. If you observe my blog posts closely you will notice that of the books that I have reviewed, 2 are authored by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. No other author features more than once, not yet. Now, that’s saying something. To be honest, I experienced a very real ‘fan moment’ at the time - To think that I was considered worthy enough to review her work! Wow! Was this really happening to me and so on and so forth.  It has therefore, taken me a while to gather my thoughts and put them to paper, to let the emotion wash away a little so that I can give you a coherent take on the book.

‘Before We Visit The Goddess’ is a novel about the lives of 3 women with differing personalities and ambitions but with one very strong bond that ties them all, that of family. Sabitri, Bela and Tara. Grandmother, Mother and Daughter.

My initial feeling when reading the book was akin to being in a time capsule rocketing from the 1940s to 1990s and through this journey I gained insight into the lives of these women at different stages of their lives. Their everyday struggles, their fierce ambitions, their tryst with love and a desire to succeed. The characters are very real and towards the end of the book I felt like I knew them all along!

I have very faint memories of Kolkata but Divakaruni’s writing rekindled my hazy memories of the city’s sights and smells. The descriptions of the traditional Bengali sweets is so tempting that I almost popped into my local grocery store (run by Bangladeshis) to see if I could lay my hands on rasgulla and mishit doi. But then, I was drawn back into the mystical prose and engaging storyline of Divakaruni’s book. So the sweets had to wait for another day.

Divakaruni masterfully explores the meaning of what it is to be an Indian woman across various decades and she does this through the experiences of each of her 3 characters. Human strengths and weaknesses are demonstrated with equal finesse and the reader who is not conversant with Indian culture is enlightened with snippets about its customs and traditions. A reference made to society in Kolkata appealed to me perhaps because it is not specific to Kolkata alone– “But in Kolkata, it’s always possible to learn someone’s history if you want it badly enough”.

The reader is also given insight into West Bengal’s political fabric, especially the influence of the Naxalites on the life of Kolkata’s youth.

Divakaruni’s writing as always, is spellbinding. The manner in which the words synergise is soothing to the soul. Consider this sentence as an example; “Ebb and flow, ebb and flow, our lives. Is that why we’re fascinated by the steadfastness of stars?”. Did I just hear you sigh? I will let you reflect and it take it all in, word by word….


Comments

  1. Very well written review! I like your approach of reviewing, that's different.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Sab Moha Maya Hai - For The Sake of Valentine's Day!

14th February, Valentine’s Day. A day we are told we must “celebrate” as it epitomises this wonderful emotion that we as humans are capable of – Love.


“So, what are your plans for the day?” I was asked this question about a million times today and all I said was “Oh! I don’t know, I’m very unromantic!” to which I got responses like “But it’s the day of love” or “Come on! you need to celebrate love!” and so on. Having reflected upon this small talk that people often engage in to ease the awkward silences, I felt the need to put my thoughts to paper about the difference between romance and love as I find the two are often confused- one for the other. Romance is an expression of love, not love itself. Love is when you consistently strive for the wellbeing of another despite it causing you discomfort or pain. It is unconditional, not based on trivialities like tokens of affection which have sadly come to become measures of the extent of love. If you buy me a cake, you love me 30%, a design…

Flesh and Bone and Water - Luiza Sauma

I was delighted to receive this book for review from Penguin UK. Having grown up with memories of the Penguin logo in almost every bookshop I visited, it felt wonderful to be recognised as a reviewer by this world renowned publishing house. 'Flesh and Bone and Water' has nothing to do with South Asia. However, the commonality it shares with the region is that it is set in Brazil, a place that is often referred to as also being part of the 'third world' group of nations. "It's easy to leave a place when you're young. Coming back is harder. That's my advice : stay where you are." And so begins this beautiful novel which I would term as part coming of age and part an immigrant's journey from Brazil to Londres (London). More importantly why does the protagonist Andre venture back on a journey to his childhood home? The author Luiza Sauma has very poignantly narrated the story in first person so it feels like Andre is telling you his own story. You…

Serving Crazy With Curry - Amulya Malladi

Food! - That wonderful part of our existence that not only plays the essential role of providing daily sustenance but is also an archetype of culture and tradition. For me, food is a meaningful catalyst to creating unforgettable memories and associations. There are certain foods that I associate with certain events or significant people in my life. I also seek comfort in food be it a hot bowl of dal rice after a hard day at work or a sneaky piece of chocolate as a reward for achieving something (Yes, I do apply the principles of behavioural psychology to my own life!)
I first came across Amulya Malladi’s books in London’s local libraries. I was impressed that her books are well stocked which is an indication of their popularity. I read a couple of these books and soon found out the reason for this. Two words – Writing and Characters! Her writing is immensely engaging and her characters threaten to come alive page by page. This certainly applies to ‘Serving Crazy with Curry’.
Devi, our …