Having grown up on a steady dose of stories from Indian mythology, the genre is one that appeals to me a lot. I know the stories of most of the prominent Indian gods and goddesses, but there are those minor gods who do play a part in those stories but aren’t quite remembered, or their stories known well. It was a surprise to see a full novel on one of those gods, especially given the author’s previous novel was about Arjuna from the Mahabharata.
Kamadeva is the Indian god of love or desire, the Indian version of Cupid, if you would. He’s known to have a bow made of sugarcane, but other than that, I had not a clear idea of him. This novel helps to add to the knowledge base. Right from the get go, the book piques my interest. The song of Kama felt spot on. Desire feels mostly indestructible. The book talks of creation of the world and of Kamadeva, and the curse that he is to be destroyed by The Destroyer. It talks of his wife Rati, and their abode, the heavens of Amravati. It talks of how he’s called on to spread love and desire with his trusty bow and arrow. It talks of the fulfillment of the curse too.
The first thing I love in the book is the cover. It is beautiful, and makes you curious to read the blurb (at the very least). The novel is one that would definitely intrigue those who love to read about mythology. The research that Anuja has done to write this book can be seen in her work, and it also indicates her passion for the genre. The language she writes in almost makes these gods and goddesses seem human, something which we don’t imagine. One of the aspects that didn’t quite gel with me in her previous book was that there were times the research overwhelmed the magic of mythology and made the narrative feel like an essay. The same holds true for this novel too, and as a reader, you end up searching for those lines that stand out, make you feel like you are reading that genre. It’s something that irks me.
It’s marginally better than her previous work. But what I appreciate is that her works are not about the characters we already know a lot of. That’s something out of the usual mythology books. So well done!
Title: Kamadeva – The God of Desire
Author: Anuja Chandramouli
Price: INR 295
(27th November 2014)