Title: Sita’s Curse
Author: Sreemoyee Piu Kundu
Plot: A beautiful young girl from a village in Gujarat, Meera has barely come to terms with the death of her twin brother, when she is married off to a stranger in Mumbai. The groom seems aloof from the start, and Meera realizes that she is stuck in a loveless marriage that fails to satisfy her desires and longings. She meets several people through the years, though she fails to strike a bond with anyone. Finally, a rainy, flooded day in Mumbai changes her life.
Review: I’m sorry if the plot seems so short and incomplete, but that’s all there really is to it. I’ll be honest here: The title of the book and the blurb misled me into thinking that this was a feminist story – a woman breaking free of all the oppression around her. Only much later did I realize that the genre was erotica but even then, I had high expectations. This book, sadly, doesn’t really fall into any of those categories.
Broadly speaking, this seems like the screenplay of a C grade Hindi movie, like the ones that get screened in shady movie halls in the corner of a town or village. The heroine Meera is immensely unlikeable, as she cruises through the wafer thin storyline, her pallu slipping all the time, revealing her perky assets, ‘like the ones foreigners have’.
Meera is so beautiful that she has the men of the colony thronging the streets when she walks. Even the gigolo ends up getting smitten by her. Unfortunately, she is just as obsessed with herself and comes across as callous and unscrupulous.
At the risk of sounding like a prude, I’m going to say that this novel was actually disgusting for me. After a point, you get tired of reading about all the sex Meera has (which is quite boring) and just want the story to move on. And she does get a lot of action with practically everyone; no one is spared, not her brother, her cousin, her dance teacher, her second dance teacher, the family Guruji etc.
There are also some cringe-worthy conversations with her Mother, Mother in law and her husband, the bra salesman. Among all these, there are a few digs at the hypocritical Indian society, but by then you are just tired of hearing about how much she loves chest hair on men. Eww.
The title of the book is surprising, since other than the fact that she played Sita at Dussehra every year in her village, there is no relation between the plot and the title. At least there aren’t any typos or grammatical mistakes.
Verdict: By now, you must have a pretty good idea about what to expect from the book. You are free to give it a try, of course, but my recommendation would be to stay away. I’m sure you’ll find several other options if you want either erotica or feminism which are miles better than this tiring book.
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