28 April 2021 | By: Writing Buddha

Sita: Now you know me by Sini Panicker (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

1927th BLOG POST


15th Book of 2021

 


I am a big fan of our ancient history- you talk of Ramayan or Mahabharat, I just love reading about them as many times as possible. I just can’t get bored of them at all. And if I have to choose from both of them, I always prefer Ramayan because of my devotion towards Lord Ram. I just can’t get enough of his tales and righteousness. Most books that I have read till now have always concentrated on Shri Ram except one written by Amish which was based on life of Sita Mata – which is the 2nd book in his The Ram Chandra series. But because that story was more of a fiction than reality, I didn’t enjoy it a bit but the book I just completed reading has made me so close to the character of Sita Mata that every time I’ll hear her name, I am going to feel pain as I do when I hear the name of Ram who had to go through so much in their life.

 

“Sita: Now you know me” written by the debutante authoress, Sini Panicker, in around 334 pages is published by Rupa publications. The approach of Sini has been evident right from the 1st chapter that the book is solely going to be about Sita from Ramayan and no one else. I must applaud author the way she has been able to keep the focus on her character in spite of having Ram so closely associated with her. I always feel that you can’t write any book on Ramayan without basing it equally on both the characters but the way Panicker has managed the same is commendable.

 

The writing style of Sini is very simple and straightforward. In spite of having good command on the language, the way she manages to keep her sentences and philosophies easy to understand throughout the book is appreciable. Anyone who is a starter will also find going through this book and story easy and smooth. It is very necessary to write about the tales of Ramayan and Mahabharat in easy language as our current generation is less aware about our culture and they should feel motivated to pick up such books. Author’s intention is very clear about the same.

 

I would also like to mention another good quality about Sini- her research. Yes! The way she has written the whole story from Sita’s perspective, it needs a lot of information because most of the books talk mostly about Ayodhya and Ram. Hence, what was Sita going through in her childhood and what she must have felt with so much happening in their life is very hard to know through the available texts. Also, author has not based the whole story only on one version of Ramayan but multiple of them. You will disagree with her on many events that this is wrongly told but it is because we are familiar with only one or two Ramayan versions. Hence, it might seem wrong at places but it opens our perspective on other ways for telling of Ramayan too.

 

The book might sound stretchy with its 334 pages but let me tell you, author has been very specific about what she wants to tell. She has not wasted any of our time in useless descriptions or unwanted specifications. We are just taken as deep as possible into her mind and heart which makes us become one with Sita. We are told about how strong she used to be in her childhood that her father had decided to make her the ruler of Mithila but as soon as her marriage got in between, the way her life transformed where she had to make unlimited number of compromises which kept on messing up with her dreams, ambitions and will.

 

Later, in the book, we get to know about her sufferings during the exile with Ram and Lakshman and later, alone at the Valmiki’s ashram pregnant with her twins. I will not lie but I must have cried 100 of times while reading this book; and I have never cried so much while reading any book ever. The way Sita carries herself in Ravan’s abduction is something very painful to read but you get to understand the strength she had within her to fight against such a powerful and ferocious king like Ravan. Another mention I would like to mention about how author has been able to make us understand about other characters also in limited words that we don’t find them a complete stranger but understand their back stories too.

 

There are many events where Sita’s small and big sacrifices are discussed which makes us understand how she has been treated as a shadow whenever Ramayan comes into the picture. The book becomes more powerful in its last 2/3rd part where the story starts coming to the closure. After completing the book and revisiting everything I went through in the book while writing summary in my journal, I just couldn’t comprehend how could author cover it in less than 350 pages as this seems to be the stuff of 3-4 books together. Overall, this is a very nice read and one needs to have a strong heart and mind to read it as it becomes extremely painful and depressing at times – because such has been life of Sita Mata.

 

Now, talking about the drawbacks, I must say that my review is surely biased because of my love for Ramayan and Siya Ram but there are surely some issues with the author’s version of Ramayan. Firstly, I feel that author has become very critical of Ram. Anyone who would be reading Ramayan for the 1st time through this book will find Ram to be bigger villain than Ravan, unfortunately. Secondly, I must say that few events of Ramayan are completely twisted in order to make Sita’s life look more miserable than it actually was. Author has purposely picked up the specific tales from several versions wherever Sita’s plight is immense. I believe there should have been some balance.

 

Thirdly, whenever we read about ancient history or such strong and legendary characters, we expect philosophy in between. This book tries at some places but majorly, there are no philosophical approach at all. You wouldn’t get many quotes to keep with yourself as learnings from this book. Lastly, I believe that book focuses too much on Sita only. I just wanted to read about other characters as much as I wanted to read about Sita. Again, a balance is needed even if the subject of your book is based on one character. Though I would appreciate the way Sita’s beautiful relation with her father, Lakshman, Hanuman, Lopamudra, Urmi and other characters are portrayed.

 

Overall, this is one of the books I’ll always remember and recommend. Reading this has been an emotional journey for me. It has definitely become memorable. Kudos to Sini Panicker for writing it so beautifully. I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5.


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WRITING BUDDHA 



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