I finished Menaka’s Choice by Kavita Kane about two weeks back and it has taken me sometime to write about how I felt about it. This is my second book by Kavita and although I really like it, I liked Karna’s Wife more :-).
The book is about Menaka, the apsara, and her life in heaven, her relationships, choices and sacrifices. Unlike what most people would believe, even a divine apsara had her share of sorrows. Life in heaven is perfect, until Menaka wanted more. [Isn’t that the basic nature of all of us? Hazaar Khwahishein aisi ki har khwahish pe dum nikle, bohot nikale mere armaan lekin fir bhi kam nikale :-)] But I digress. Not content with just being a divine enchantress, she started coveting things that mere mortals had – love, marriage, children, family. She was Indra’s favourite, but even she could not bend the rules of heaven and had to make difficult choices. She dares to love but loses only to love again and lose yet again. When she thought she could twist a task to her advantage, she got caught in her own silken web. Humbled by fate, she learns to make peace with her loss and wait for her eternal love, wearing the scars on her heart like trophies.
The book made me ponder over several questions –
1. One man’s heaven can be another’s hell
2. Where does the ship of our wishes dock? Do we ever stop wanting more? Why?
3. What good is ‘good’ if there was no ‘evil’ to give us a perspective?
4. Is there really a place called heaven where absolute happiness prevails? Is it worth coveting? Or is it something to be found on earth in small moments of life?
These and many more thoughts crowded my mind as I read this book. Its immaterial whether the book has any element of truth in it or not. I liked it because it brings out the fact that nothing is ever enough. Nothing can bring us eternal joy unless we learn to find happiness in what we have. So was Vishwamitra wrong when he aspired to become a Brahmrishi? Or was he wrong when he fell in love and was content to just live a family life? I feel it was neither. Finding happiness in what we have does not mean that we should stop wishing for more or not have any ambition. It only means that heaven and hell is what we choose to make of our own life.
Seems like I am yet to understand this properly myself 🙂