Book Review #118: ‘Ahalya’ by Koral Dasgupta

 ‘Ahalya’ by Koral Dasgupta © Aishwary Mehta.

Author – Koral Dasgupta   |    Genre – Mythological Fiction

Publishing House – Pan Macmillan India

Source – Publisher    |    ISBN – 9389109663 

Published in – August 2020

Format – Paperback    |    Pages – 216

Quote from the book I Liked
‘Everyone is born perfect, they pick up the imperfection along the course of life.’ (Page no. 30)

*Important take from the book* (New segment) –
All the perspective of a story is important to understand it completely or the story remains incomplete and the reader remains in ignorance and often misjudge it in whole, choosing bad and good without even knowing enough.

Stars – 4.5 Stars

Plot Summary – 

It is known that Ahalya was cursed by her husband, Gautam, for indulging in a physical relationship with Indra. But is there another story to Ahalya’s truth? Who was Indra anyway? A king? A lover? A philanderer? The first book of the Sati series, Ahalya hinges on these core questions, narrating the course of her life, from innocence to infidelity.

About the Author
Koral Dasgupta is a master storyteller. Her stories ap pear randomly through her books, academic lectures, speeches, columns, and paintings. A literary movement founded by her,, hosts short stories and poems written by people across age, professions and geographies. She is a professor of Marketing, Communications and Creative Writing. Other than conducting workshops and sessions at colleges and schools, she delivers talks on branding and storytelling at corporate floors. She also consults with the corporate in marketing communications and content space.

My Review –

Mythology is one of my most favourite Genre. Not just because of some religion thing but because of the wide range of stories and lessons that these stories teach us. And one common theme that goes around is the Male perspective of every story which somehow does not complete the story in itself. Often the female perspective is either left by the author or completely ignored. But this story is now changing at a greater pace. Several authors like – Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Kavita Kane and Anuja Chandramouli and several others are writing books from the major ignored and left off female perspective. Thus, comes this new book ‘Ahalya‘ by author Koral Dasgupta. The book is based on the character of Ahalya who is known to be one of the Panch Kanyas from Hindu Mythology. These Panch Kanyas are known to be as the most intelligent, beautiful and full of wisdom the world has ever known. Likewise, the author will proceed further with the rest of the 4 Panch Kanyas in her upcoming book to complete ‘The Sati Series’.

Ahalya is well known from the epic of Ramayana, where, Lord Ram, Vishnu’s avatar, places his foot over a stone which turns the stone into a woman named Ahalya. She was cursed by her husband Rishi Gautam to be turned to stone until Lord Ram himself sets foot on her. This all may seem weird to those unknown with the metaphorical way of Hindu stories. Often turning someone to stone is a metaphor for one to become like a stone not turning into a stone, which means to feel nothing, no pain, no emotions, no-touch, devoid of all senses (Indriyas in Hindi). The story is familiar but the narration from Ahalya’s point of view is new in the often mislead/misinterpreted/incomplete narration of the whole story.

Author, Koral Dasgupta wrote this book in a completely unbiased way, where neither of the characters is portrayed as bad or good. Everyone had their reason to be the way they were which somehow justifies their deeds. Ahalya’s soul came on the earth for the first time and wanted to explore and get indulged in the worldly pleasure while the Gautam being a rishi was a complete opposite of her, who wanted to get control over his senses and wanted to detach from worldly things and attain Moksha. The narration and storytelling of this book is one to get a hold on and will make us clear of how incomplete a story gets when it is heard from a singular point of view. Such stories are the need of the hour (and generations to come) which gives a better meaning to the equality amongst gender from the mythological lores which was long suppressed by the rise of Monastic orders and need to be retold or at least reinterpreted for the coming generation to learn lessons from.

What I liked – That the story was to the point without a single spec of distraction.

What could’ve been better – Everything was apt.

Writing Style – Simple, easy and non-disruptive.

Conclusion – Unbiased story of Ahalya. Must read.

30th BOOK of 2020 (154 books read overall)

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Buy at –

Book Review #117: ‘Shikhandi and Other Stories They Don’t Tell You’ by Devdutt Pattanaik
Book Review #116: ‘Immortal Talks (Book 2)’ by Shunya
Book Review #115: ‘Mohini: The Enchantress’ by Anuja Chandramouli



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