24 April 2023 | By: Writing Buddha

Ahalya's Awakening by Kavita Kane (Book Review: 4*/5) !!!

2060th BLOG POST

12th Book of 2023

When it comes to India’s historical stories or mythology – howsoever you want to refer it – we are always provided only an overview of them since childhood. Thankfully, the world of books enables us to know more about each of these characters we want to delve into. One such character who is always referred to be turned into stone for cheating her husband is Ahalya. That is how we know her since we know about her. Kavita Kane’s latest book named “Ahalya’s Awakening” is an attempt to retell her story and let the readers know what prompted her to take such a decision which would change her image for years to come.


The book is of almost 350-pages but has been narrated in a wonderful thrilling manner which makes it a perfect page-turner. You would always want to know what next decision will Ahalya take as most of them are against her family, brother, husband or the people who wanted to confine her personality as per their convenience. This is the 1st book I have read from the pen of Kavita Kane and I must say, her command over the English language and sense of narration is terrific. The way she has written crisp sentences and powerful dialogues makes everything so imaginable and impactful that you can visualize the whole thing happening in front of you. All the conversations between the characters make you love them for what they are- right or wrong.


The story begins with lots of characters hence it is quite a slow-read in initial few pages as you want to understand background of each of them and how they are related with Ahalya. After that, the story is very interesting until her wedding with Rishi Gautam. The book gets quite slow after that but the pre-climax and climax are enough to bring you back into the story. Author has not shied away while talking in negative sense about the historical characters such as Indra, Gautam, Ahalya, her parents or anyone else. It shows her clarity towards her understanding of the tale and how she wants to convey it to us.


Kavita has tried speaking about many contemporary issues through her protagonist, Ahalya, which is quite evident right from the start of the book. The initial page focuses on how Ahalya is adamant to complete her studies rather than getting married – which is considered to be the only option for girls after they reach a respective age. Author emphasizes on the point regarding how essential it is for the girl to study than getting married early. A girl needs to have her own identity rather than always being referred as someone’s daughter, sister, wife or mother. Later, Ahalya, again stands against the society and choses to marry a rishi who has been a teacher to her rather than the boy her family preferred for her. It shows her strong character and how she took all the important decisions for herself.


The complexity in her character arises after she gets married and finds herself not getting the same attention as she deserves. Here onwards, there are many philosophical aspects mentioned in big paragraphs which discusses her dilemmas and traumas. I really enjoyed reading these sections and wanted to highlight all of them. I liked how the last chapter is based upon her conversation with Sita, another character from Ramayan who is supposedly said to be treated unfairly by her husband because of the citizens. It is one of the unexpected and unique ending to this book. The way Kavita describes the love, romantic and love-making scenes as well makes you go crazy. Haha! The book, basically, talks about women empowerment majorly and will be loved by young girls who can relate with it better.


Now, talking about the drawbacks, I must say that there aren’t too many subplots in the book for which it was needed to be spoken in 350 pages. The book could have been easily summed up within 250 pages and it would have sounded more effective. It is stretched and dragged at many instances. The book is written to woo the modern feminists for whom anything that the female gender does is right and justified even if it is completely wrong. Author has tried to speak everything from the same lenses and made all the male characters sound wrong and women characters sound extremely right even though they have made mistakes from their end too. You can always preach such social message through your book in few instances but every sentence of the book screams toxic feminism on your face which becomes irritating and annoying after a point of time. Similarly, I feel author could have restricted talking about the Sita’s part from Uttar Ramayan which is still a controversy whether it’s an original text from our history or a morphed one.


Overall, this is an interesting read and gives you insight about one of the important tales of our culture. I give this book 4 stars out of 5. Kavita Kane’s writing style is unmissable.






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