I searched all these years for myself—and I only found Ahalya, the woman I was supposed to be born as: unblemished, without any faults. I had no hala in me, no sin, no crime, no guilt. What I had done was to respond to the call of life within me…’
Ahalya. Created by Brahma; married to one of the greatest rishis of all time; desired by the king of gods, Indra. A woman maligned and cursed.
But who was Ahalya? What did she want? Did she have ambitions and desires?
In this sparkling retelling of the well-known legend, bestselling author Kavita Kané draws out the voice of a character that lacked one—even before she was turned to stone. Tracing her journey from a precocious child, to a studious and sheltered princess, to the loving wife of Rishi Gautam, Ahalya’s Awakening delves into the mind of a woman who yearns to control her own destiny. In her tale lies the story of every woman, even today.
I had previously read “The Fisher Queen’s Dynasty” by Kavita and was immediately gripped. She has this knack of presenting mythological stories and presenting them through the eyes of a female lead. This book seemed no exception.
Maneka (the ethereal ‘Apsara’) begins narrating how the previous Indra got cursed by Rishi Gautam for desiring Ahalya. The story starts of slow where a near perfect Ahalya is shown mastering almost everything that is thrown at her and how she tries to battle with the stereotypes. The book did become a little too dramatic in the beginning but the story picks up after the marriage of Ahalya and Gautam. The intertwined lives of Ahalya, Gautam and Indra has been sketched very well and gives you a lot of perspective. I would have definitely liked more detail about the change in behaviour of Gautam. The story did exclude a lot of day to day emotions and could have included it diversely.
I loved the character of Indra the most, mostly because it seemed more developed and out there. Ahalya did seem uninteresting at first but as the layers start to build, she unfurls her detailed character. I was a little disappointed with the character of Gautam and kept wanting to know more of his thoughts throughout the book.
I found the writing, brave and courageous as it held its ground very well and maintained the sanctity of story as well. The bold writing which puts some heavy points across about how we always forgive the men and keep blaming the women, came out powerfully. Overall, it is a good read for people who like mythology and try to experiment with it. Even if you are beginner, it can be a great start.
Genre: Mythological Fiction
My Rating: 3.5/5