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– by Vikas Dutta
Jan 16, 2017: Title: Lanka’s Princess; Author: Kavita Kane; Publisher: Rupa Publications India; Pages: 280; Price: Rs 295
Like the space-time it is set in, Hindu mythology too seems to trace a circular course — in fiction. Its once unmitigated villains are being re-evaluated, their motives and actions re-assessed, and epics retold from their perspective. But while the great “demon” king, the Pandavas’ unknown brother and “jealous” cousin have had their say, what about a calamitous woman long-perceived as a cause of the war that destroyed Lanka?
But it was time that Surpanakha got her chance to tell her story of repression, rage, revenge — and eventual redemption.
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We have long known her as Ravana’s younger sister, a “wanton” asura whose advances to Ram and Lakshman, the exiled princes of Ayodhya, were spurned and earned her horrific mutilation from Lakshman’s swift sword. Her subsequent complaint to her brother set in motion a chain of events that led to the death of almost every male relative. But do we know anything else about her — her past, her thoughts, her future?
Remedying the deficiency is author Kavita Kane, who has long been trying to give the overshadowed women — wives, mothers and sisters — of the great mythological epics a voice — and their due.
And after Karna’s wife Uruvi, Sita’s sister Urmila and the apsara Menaka, it is time for Meenakshi, the youngest child and only daughter of sage Vishravas and asura princess Kaikesi. It was her mother who named her Surpanakha, because of long sharp nails and equally sharp and destructive temper.
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Meenakshi’s story cannot, however, be seen in isolation from her family, especially her brothers, the powerful and ambitious Ravana, the slow but solid (and unexpectedly perspicacious) Kumbha, and the righteous Vibhisana, and the growing tensions between her parents, and her father and eldest son.
But this is not where Kane begins her tale, which starts in another, later age, where a young prince, raised as a cowherd, returns to Mathura to reclaim his heritage.
Among the crowd, Krishna immediately identifies an old, hunchbacked woman, who makes her living by making sandalwood paste, as an “acquaintance” from an earlier life and approaches her. She is discomfitted by the attention of “an eerily familiar” but unrecognisable interlocutor, who seeks a favour, and promises to return. He does after fulfilling his primary mission, restores to proper form and reminds her of her previous life.
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It is then a flashback to the hermitage of Vishravas as she is being born, and her mother’s disappointment at giving birth to a daughter. From then we follow the childhood of Meenakshi and her elder siblings, which give us insights into their latter, more-known selves. It also, through their examples, shows us how some human traits and social issues have been part of our lives in the ages.
And before the events segue into those we know as the Ramayana, we learn how Meenakshi’s bids at happiness in her trying life fail and what an elaborate revenge she plans and implements — though there are times when she balks at the cost it demands.
Her campaign doesn’t end on the battlefields of Lanka but continues well into Ram’s Ayodhya, though she finds herself unable to carry out the final part of her revenge due to the unexpected reactions from her prospective victims. It is then she finally understands the patterns of her life and fate.
The narrative returns to Mathura, where Krishna, who has comforted her with her eventual redemption, foresees — but forbears to tell her — her future (setting the stage for the next book?)
But, Kane’s fourth book is not just a mere retelling of the epic from the viewpoint of a significant but minor character, and providing more space to the likes of Ravana’s mother, wife Mandodari, and brothers as well as Sita, though it is her sister, who has a more vital role.
It also may not lead us to view Surpanakha more sympathetically (though we can understand her) but shows how epics are not about the struggles between “good” and “evil”, but of and between humans, of their choices, aspirations, their different social systems and outlooks. We read them not to find god but to know more about ourselves.
The city of Delhi has seen it all; from sultanate rule, to dynasties, and to colonial rule. From monarchy to democracy, Delhi has gone through its phases. But, in order to know and explore the nuances of Delhi, you must read these beautiful books.
1. City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple
This book was written while Dalrymple was still flirting with his love for the Medieval India. The author writes, "Moreover the city- so I soon discovered- possessed a bottomless seam of stories: tales receding far beyond history, deep into the cavernous chambers of myth and legend," and just like this, Dalrymple takes you in a tour to discover Discover Delhi.
2. Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller by Raza Rumi
This book explores how the author explores his identity as a South Asian Muslim and how his city of Lahore is a mirror image of Delhi. Rumi, in this book, tries to co-relate the past with the present by comparing its festivals, streets, and markets.
3. Delirious Delhi: Inside India's Incredible Capital by DavePrager
This book is quite interesting. The story of this book revolves around the lives of Dave and Jenny who have recently moved to Delhi when their firm began to go down. The city of Delhi in this book is shown through their eyes as they try to make their way in the city that holds together a very large population.
4. The Heart has its Reasons by Krishna Sobti, Translated by Reema Anand, Meenakshi Swami
The original title of this book is "Dil - o - Danish". This book tells the reader about the streets of Old Delhi and almost transport the reader back in the past. This book is basically set in the 1920's, and tells the tale of a man's extramarital affair, his children out of wedlock, black magic, and Chandni Chowk's rich culture of sweets and the perils of being a widow. Interestingly, many have compared the author of this book to Jane Austen.
5. Delhi: A Novel by Khushwant Singh
Who would talk about Delhi and not remember Khushwant Singh? This amazing book is just like a narrative of the author's fulfilled love affair with the city and with a eunuch. The narrator in this book is an aging man who is trying to discover the city. This book is truly a masterpiece, where it takes the readers on the history of Delhi glimpsing at what makes the city what it is– simply beautiful.
There are some of the Indian cities which are older than time. Therefore, we must know which cities are they, and what has been their history!
1. Varanasi (1200 BC–)
Varanasi is one of the oldest cities of India, and has been a center of religious and cultural activity since the Bronze Age. In fact, this city might have been in existence from a very long time, since it finds mention in the Rig Veda. It is believed that the city of Varanasi was thriving for more than 1600 years before the fall of the Roman Empire in Europe. This city is one of the holiest places for Hindus and Jains, and even Lord Buddha gave his very first sermon here in 528 BC. In Hinduism, it is believed that dying in Varanasi brings salvation, which is the reason why the city is always brimming with pilgrims.
2. Ujjain (700/600 BC–)
Ujjain was once considered as one of the most prominent cities in the Middle India. In fact, the name of this city is repeatedly mentioned in the literature of that period, i.e. in the works of stalwarts like Kālidāsa. This city has seen the rise and fall of numerous empires, from the Mauryas to the Avantis, Nandas, and even the Guptas. This city, just like Varanasi, is also considered as one of the holiest cities in India, and hosts one of the officially recognized Kumbh melas, the Ujjain Simhastha Kumbh, in which people across the world take place.
3. Madurai (500 BC–)
Madurai been a major center of culture and trade for more than 2500 years. In fact, the name of this city has been mentioned in the writings of the great traveler, Megasthenes, and has been ruled by several empires from the Pandyas and the Cholas to the Karnata, and finally the British. Interestingly, ‘'Koodal,' was one of its ancient name which means 'a congregation of learned men'. There is no doubt that Madurai was an epicenter of scholars and religious teachers in the southern part of India.
4. Thanjavur (300 BC–)
Thanjavur was formerly known as Tanjore. This city is pretty famous for its Tanjore style of painting, which is a traditional style that is characterised by the use of gold foil, religious imagery, and simple compositions. This city is best known for being the home of the Great Living Chola Temples, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Till date, people across the world visit this place in order to experience its rich history and heritage.
By- Digital Hub
I prefer synthetic wigs as it isn't something that I would wear all the time - just when I look different. Additionally, their ease of use is an essential factor for me. However, suppose you're looking to wear a wig for a fashionable accessory or as a way for you to show your personality. In that case, I'd recommend buying multiple synthetic wigs of various styles and colors instead of only the one human hair wig at the same amount. However, be cautious - only purchase top-quality synthetic braids that are more expensive as you might be disappointed by the new style you've chosen.
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A decent human hair wig will cost more than one made of synthetic. This is due to the supply of hair. While synthetic fibers are produced as needed, but long hair of women of good quality is in scarce supply. Human hair of the highest quality comes that comes from Eastern Europe, which is very low. The highest synthetic wigs are afro short wigs If you are looking for a human hair wig, the cost is more expensive and usually exceeds five hundred dollars, contingent upon the size. But you can find both kinds of wigs at a discount price from online stores that specialize in discount hair wigs. Cheap wigs aren't at any time inferior in quality; they're just not the latest models. If price is a concern, you should always purchase a high-quality synthetic wig instead of a low-quality human hair wig.
Require a Wig
If you're not sure of which wig you should pick, However, our suggestion is to choose the highest-quality human hair wig, especially if you plan to make it your style of the moment and wear it all day. Human hair wigs are the best choice for those who require a wig due to loss of hair. However, go for an artificial wig if you want to enjoy the way you look and change your appearance now and then.
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In today's society, the wearing of a hair wig has become more common. A hair wig is an easy method to alter your appearance at any time you wish quickly. Women are more drawn to these wigs since they can change their hairstyle with ease. Wigs are usually worn by those who have shed their hair or those who wish to alter their hairstyle to be fashionable.
Human hair wigs on display at a store Image source: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
There is a variety of hair accessories in the market. They range from inexpensive to costly depending on their materials, style, and quality. If you're in search of a wig, then be sure to keep several factors in mind. First, the wig should be able to fit comfortably on your hair without making you appear odd. Additionally, the color of hair that is a part of the wig must match your physical appearance. Below are various hair accessories utilized by the majority of people.
If you are purchasing a human hair wig, make sure you know the origin of the hair. If you're looking to invest a few hundreds of dollars on a wig, it's recommended to purchase one of European hair. However, if the wig's label reads "human hair wig" without stating the origin for the hair, it's most likely made of Asian hair.
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Human hair wigs have many advantages:
Human hair wigs last longer than synthetic ones
Human hair is soft and natural to the touch.
Human hair wigs can be dyed and styled as your hair
Human hair wigs "breathes" and your scalp won't sweat more than it does under one
Human hair wigs need to be styled at least once per wash
Human hair wigs are costly
While you can find numerous styles of synthetic wigs, but there aren't all fibers produced in the same way; for example, wigs that are costume-related for Halloween are typically made of lower quality fibers, which are expensive and appear to be the hair wig. For Halloween parties, this is okay, but for everyday use, you'll need a wig that looks like it's been growing around your head. On the other hand, contemporary synthetic materials utilized in top-quality designer wigs look highly practical for those who want to look realistic.
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