Your Valentines Day celebrations would be made sweeter with these two books that celebrate timeless love.
On Valentine’s Day when the celebration of love between two hearts takes the spotlight in every perceivable form, a bibliophile’s sole refuge is to turn to few of the ‘rarest of the rare’ books that celebrate love stories, even if a tad too tragic, and infuse a timeless perspective of the emotion that has paved the way for great works of literature.
A retelling of Indian epics always brings the spotlight on these two immortal works, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. For writers and poets, the retelling of these epics becomes synonymous with challenging the boundaries of human imagination to demonstrate mastery over a craft and a story that clinches the world’s attention and compels readers to be glued to every nuance that lies between the embrace of words.
For Indian bibliophiles who want to celebrate Valentines Day with a layered narrative and a masterful retelling of love that comes with soulful depth than physical passion, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s recently released book, ‘The Forest of Enchantments’, offers a compelling read.
Published by Harper Collins India, this book brings to life the love story between a Prince and Princess, who are destined to love and yet be separated by factors that went beyond their control, following which their ultimate separation leads to the culmination of the epic.
Tracing the emotional upheavals of a separated Princess, only an ‘incomparable storyteller’, (The Denver Post’s reference to the author) like Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni can set forth the rich tapestry of love that existed between Ram and Sita, with a timeless message for all couples who love each other, that forgiveness is the essence of true love.
To read this labour of love is to experience the bliss of the rarest of the rare genre of love indeed, a love that defies the society’s understanding of how the physical separation makes hearts grow fonder, closer and in deeper communion with another.
Interestingly, the very well known author Volga, renowned for her feminist interpretation of Sita in her book, “The Liberation of Sita”, has come out in praise of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s depiction, referring to the protagonist as ”an epitome of courage and self-respect, showing a path for all women…..”
At Kalam book festival with Shabana Azmi, one of my favorite #filmstars. She stayed to hear me talk about #TheForestOfEnchantments. I was honored. #BookTour #NewBook #Respect #WritingLife #chitrabanerjeedivakaruni https://t.co/nZryk7Cvlv pic.twitter.com/c9rffkNmo4
— Chitra B. Divakaruni (@cdivakaruni) February 13, 2019
I really hope schools and colleges will teach #TheForestofEnchantments, Sita’s #Ramayan. It will lead to important discussions. Many are teaching #ThePalaceofIllusions, so I will think positive. Friends, if you know decision-makers, please suggest it. https://t.co/iEXsSuB6ZW
— Chitra B. Divakaruni (@cdivakaruni) February 9, 2019
Goodbye to all my #Indian Readers, and thank you for all the positive responses to #TheForestofenchantments. Please keep reading and keep sharing with friends, and let me know what you think of the book! Thanks also to @harpercollinsin For arranging the … https://t.co/r3IzcjFNSj pic.twitter.com/xG7CwFi3y8
— Chitra B. Divakaruni (@cdivakaruni) February 7, 2019
Not just a tale about the victory of good over evil but, also, a beautiful love story when looked closely. @cdivakaruni brings to you this love story from Sita’s point of view.
Order your copy of #TheForestOfEnchantments now at: https://t.co/NnT8cFEMYx#LoveAtHarper pic.twitter.com/zukn8URKji
— HarperCollins India (@HarperCollinsIN) February 9, 2019
The next book is yet another unusual retelling of tragic love, weaving in powerful analyses that touch upon preserving the harmony in relationships that are most important for our personal growth and happiness.
Published by FingerPrint Publishing!, Chaitanya Charan’s ‘Wisdom from the Ramayana on Life and Relationships,’ is exploration of the personal and the spiritual and delves into how we can build authentic, lasting relationships. Easy as this sounds, we know otherwise as the book builds upon every incident from the Ramayana to drive a different, unusual perspective that may have been altogether missed in previous interpretations and retelling before this.
For instance, among other things, the reference to separation as ‘Viraha Bhakti’ of the couple conveys how the divine couple relished their separation as a means to increasingly intensify the manifestation of their love towards each other internally.
In others words, “Separation does to love, what wind does to fire – spreads it more and more.” Further, “When separated from Rama, Sita relished such intense devotion,” sums up the renowned monk and author Chaitanya Charan, whose book seeks to answer many relevant questions on why relationships require much more from true seekers of love than ordinary couples and how the transition can begin with a sense of deeper self-awareness.
A bibliophile’s joy has no gender bias nor does it find itself cornered by the churn of narrow ideologies that pull a reader’s sense of loyalty to the written word and the story in conflicting directions. While plenty of mythological retelling narratives dot Indian bookshelves, few of these truly move ahead to conquer new realms of insights that add depth to human thought and understanding.
Simply put, a good book is perhaps the perfect getaway to cozy up with on Valentine’s day.