Kavita Kane's Second Novel (after Karna's Wife) - Sita's Sister, demonstrates how much she has grown as a novelist.
This book tells the Ramayan from the perspective of Urmila - Sita's Sister, the natural born daughter of King Janaka of Mithila and Queen Sunayana - the wife of Lakshman - the Princess who supposedly slept away the 13 years of exile, so that her husband may remain ever alert & awake. She is often ignored in the main retellings of the Ramayana.
However, who is to say whose trials were worse - that of young bride Sita who accompanied her husband for 14 years in the forest or those of newly married Urmila forced to live away from her husband for 14 years while e followed his brother dutifully?
Sita's sister makes some excellent points. And unlike most retellings that say that Urmila slept for the 14 years that her family was away, here Kavita Kane's Urmila is the essential lynch pin who holds the rest of the family in Ayodhya together for 14 years. Kavita's Urmila is responsible beyond her years, a well educated scholar in her own right, grounded, sensible, emotionally stable Princess. It was a pleasure to see the Ramayan through her eyes.
Kavita also touches on Mandavi & Shrutakirti - their cousins who were married to Bharata & Shatrugna - and how the exile affected them too.
However, the most poignant redemption in this book is that of Kaikeyi.
This is a lovely book, well worth reading, especially if you are interested in different narratives of the epics.
Rating : 4 / 5