Book Review: Classic Tales from Mystic India, by Kamla Kapur

classic_tales_from_mystic_india_kamla_kapur

About the author:
Kamla Kapur is a well-known poet and playwright from India. She has written for The Times of India and India Today before. She has won two national awards for her plays and has published two books of poetry.

Cover and blurb:
A wonderfully appealing cover to mythology buffs, and the stories inside I was sure would be just as appealing.

My thoughts:
Mythology is something that’s set deep in every culture, and especially I feel, in Indian culture. The various stories and tales related to gods and goddesses, world-saving avatars and demons (asuras), kind hearted kings or wise sages… they are part of our childhood that are difficult to forget. They’re magical, endearing and fun to hear. And fun to read too.

When a book comes with tales from mythology that I love and have sometime heard of, there is both a positive side to it, and also a negative side. The positive side is that I look forward to reading and recollecting those stories. I know what might happen because I have an inkling of it already in my heart. That kind of sets the negative side to it, I guess, because when it is something that is beloved and part of me, I have an expectation from the stories that they be just as magical and beautiful as I have pictured them to be. Tales from folklore and mythology calls for that tone of narration that bring the scene to life.

Classical Tales from Mystical India is a beautiful collection of stories, most of which I have heard of from my grandmother in my childhood. So I loved returning to them and picturizing them in my mind. Yes, the author brings the scene to our mind. That being said, the first thing that came to mind as I read the stories of Vishnu, was the lingo. Sage Narada has been shown calling Lord Vishnu as “Vishnu”. As far as I recollect, and have asked my family and friends too, Narada’s beloved phrase goes “Narayana, Narayana”. I’d have liked to see that as-is and not made to “Vishnu, Vishnu”. The introduction has the translation of Narayana and that it is Vishnu’s name itself, so I believe that would have been understood to the readers anyways. I loved the story of how Ganesha got his head, and I wasn’t actually aware of the legend behind it. All I had known was that Lord Shiva had to find a head facing a particular direction to merge into Ganesha’s body (beheaded by him). I enjoyed reading Sudama’s visit to Krishna and the story of Hanuman’s devotion to Rama as well.

Very enjoyable book, and I’d be re-reading it often as well. Oh, nearly forgot. The images inside the book are absolutely magnificent as well.


A rating of 8/10
A rating of 8/10

Book Details:
Title: Classic Tales from Mystic India
Author: Kamla K. Kapur
ISBN: 9788184954463
Genre: Mythology
Publishers: Jaico Books
Price: INR 225

 


This book was given to me for review by Jaico Books. This is not a paid review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Shared with
1) First Reads Challenge at b00k r3vi3ws
2) Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve.


(Oct 8th, 2013)

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