The cover image of the book Boons and Curses is an image of an Indian Princess\Godly Damsel in traditional attire with gold and silk adorned on one side and in plain clothes on the other. This reminds Queen Sita of Ayodhya.
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One need not be a follower or a believer to read history and mythology. Being a believer in science and nature, sometimes I face a conflict in blind beliefs that often exist in the world around us. And coming from a country where God or Idol worship is one of the prominent things, tales about the yesteryears often confuse me. But there is definitely some magic in them which attracts
With a clear mind, I have read the book and I won’t hesitate to say that I am astonished by some tales that author Yugal Joshi has narrated. Yugal Joshi, who is Krishna to the readers of the book ‘Boons and Curses‘. With a great amount of enthusiasm and interest, he has written this book. The mere mention of excerpts from Vedas stands highlight in the book.
This book and the tales illustrated with minute details in the book are absolutely fascinating and ageless. The book is not a mythological reference but can be referred to this generation also, in many ways. Though the book does not take much creative liberty, there are some places where the author tried explaining in context to this generation of the world.
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As Ramayana and Mahabharata are the two epics that most of us are more or less familiar with, this book will again create an interest to re-read the epics with the utmost attention.
Inside the book:
The book is about Kunti, one of the strongest women in Indian mythology who never seemed to be timid and fragile in any situation. But one evening after her mind and heart aligned to accept defeat, she breaks down.
In various stages of the Mahabharata epic, it is apparent that Pandavas were her weapons and she very intelligently used those weapons to fulfill her wishes and desires. Such culminated desires lead to the great war of Kurukshetra.
It took some while to accept the truth but once she accepted, she sought a soul who could really understand her and answer any questions that have been lingering in her mind for ages. During such a situation she seeks verbal help from Krishna. Since the moment she asked for his help, Krishna became her moral mentor and explained every doubt she had.
The conversation started with what a mother is and who was the initial mother and what was her role in the world. Then the context of ‘Prithvi’ is explained by Krishna. As the conversation progresses, topics about Dit-Aditi, Sanjana – Tara, Soorphankha, Gandhari, Kaikeyi-Kaikasi, Anasuya, and Devaki-Yashoda stories pop up.
For every question Kunti asks to suffice her guilt, Krishna takes examples of these women who not only proved as great wives but unconditional mothers. Thus, the book is all about love, revenge, sadness, jealousy, greed, sacrifice, and selflessness. Every example and every woman is explained with all the possible shades of a human.
What did I like:
In the book, as every page was giving me surprises I enjoyed reading every detail. The mention of many inbuilt sub-plots of :
- Kunti and her sons
- Diti, Aditi, and Prithvi
- Brahma and his tale
- Kuruskehtra, Draupadi and Gandhari
- King Anga, Sunita, and lesser-known Ven
- Reference of Jabala, Satyakam
- Story of Sanjana and Chaya which I felt Chaya must be the split personality of Sanjana or Sanjana’s alter ego
- Mention of Swetaketu doctrine
- The interesting story of Chandra and Tara
- The four Gunas and
- the reality of King Trinbindu excited me a lot
Who can read the book
The book Boons and Curses is written in a very simple language and thus can be read by readers of any age. The book can also help people understand a few characters in depth that might have been missed while reading the long epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
I say this because I wasn’t aware so much about the story of Surpanakha other than the ugly tiff with Ram where her nose and ears are chopped. But the story in this book has given a new insight into her. Such many things can be learned and it will really be helpful for young children to know more things.
How entertaining is the book:
The book is definitely a great entertainer. Every time Krishna quotes a character from the past, many new things unfold hence giving great mentoring to Kunti. This is the beauty of the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata that every time we think we know everything in the book, something new pops up. The book is an absolute treat of great information.
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How is the author’s writing style:
This book offers an abundance of knowledge to anyone who wishes to read it. the author’s narration and writing style for known things also are surprisingly interesting. The continuity of the previous theme along with the explanation of Kunti’s question which is then followed by the next topic is simply alluring.
For a non-fiction book which is explained in a story approach, the author’s aim and objective of the book are apparent and clearer. This helps a reader to understand the role of an author who wants to enlighten his readers with the information he gives.
A book whether fiction or non-fiction must stay in the reader’s mind for a while at least to enjoy the essence of the writing. This book will remain for a longer time in a reader’s mind for the impeccable unknown facts mentioned.
Though this book might not be an interesting one to every reader, once if read, will definitely create a thirst to read the two epics again and understand.