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From the bestselling author of Karna’s Wife comes this book about Urmila Sita’s sister and the neglected wife of Lakshman and one of the most overlooked characters in the Ramayana As Sita prepares to go into exile her younger sisters stay back at the doomed palace of Ayodhya their smiles hope and joy wiped away in a single stroke And through the tears and the tragedy one woman of immense strength and conviction stands apart—Urmila whose husband Lakshman has chosen to accompany his brother Ram to the forest rather than stay with his bride She could have insisted on joining Lakshman as did Sita with Ram But she did not Why did she agree to be left behind in the palace waiting for her husband for fourteen painfully long years?

10 thoughts on “Sita's Sister

  1. says:

    The best rendition to Ramayan from the worst hit woman of Ramayan Well narrated Urmila has got all in her as shades muted over canvas of time She is portrayed as tempestuous princess in love vivacious bride insecure wife and ambitious woman who did not bother to impose herself on her husband to become his ultimate distractionWe know what happened to Ram Sita and Lakshman when they ventured to forest following Dasarath’s orders But what happened in Ayothya when they were away ? Who managed the broken family and abandoned state affairs? How did they mend the irreparable loss ? How did the completely shattered family survive after losing Dasarath to grief and after Bharat went away to Nandigram ? Here comes her entry the most neglected and less lime lighted character who exists for namesake in Ramayan UrmilaThe actual princess of Mithila Legitimate daughter of King Janak Lakshman’s neglected wife The legend has completely ignored her saying she slept for 14 years when Lakshman was away In Kavita Kane’s view she is glorified as the woman of substance who fights the odds And not to forget Kavita doesn't ignore Kaikeyi all in her negative shades Wonderful amendment softened my views on Kaikeyi There are uotes which made me fall in love with Urmila the enchantress You could always call her secretive masking her feelings beautifully lest anyone intrude into her inmost realm of hidden thoughts It was a defense Urmila had evolved since childhood Four sisters married on same day living in similar wretchedness but each accepting and acknowledging life differently – Mandavi bitter Kriti wiser and she catatonic And Urmila smiled at her self description She existed The course of time and events plodded on uninterrupted pausing for none Let me hate you passionately as I loved you Would hatred be strong than love ? One of the greatest things about this book is the outline of the story is unchanged It just gives voice for Urmila to see things from her view Kavita Kane’s writing style is simple and beautiful Captures the inner feelings of a woman perfectly After finishing Menaka’s Choice I wish to enjoy Urmila’s perspective one time In few years Kavita will leave a mark in the literature field for this beautiful work

  2. says:

    I am a fan of Indian mythology and believe there are a lot of lessons to be learnt for life from mythology in general Reading Joseph Campbell’s writings helped me get a organized understanding of the role mythology plays in our lives – helping transcend the literal and leading us to the gates of the profound truthsI read Kavita Kane’s “Karna’s Wife” and really liked it for its imaginative storytelling using the larger framework of the Mahabharata and a strong character in Uruvi Similarly “Sita’s Sister” develops the character of Urmila Lakshman’s wife exceptionally well The story starts with a brief background of the four sisters – Sita Urmila and their cousins Mandavi and Kriti The story moves on to the Swayamvar for Sita which Ram wins; and the subseuent marriages of the four sisters to the four brothers The story largely follows the mainline version for most of the book with Kaikeyi stepping in and seeking two boons from King Dasharatha her son Bharat to be crowned the King and Ram being banished to exile in the forests for 14 years As Sita and Lakshman decide to accompany Ram Urmila’s life comes apart She is in deep turmoil as Lakshman advises against her following him Sita while in exile is still at peace with herself unlike the other sisters With Bharat also deciding to rule from a distance on behalf of Ram Mandavi feels frustrated as well Since the storytelling is from Urmila’s perspective there is only scant coverage of Sita’s abduction and the war with Raavan The most important aspects are weaved into the story though The inner thinking motivations of all the central characters are explored very well There is a fairly big twist towards the end as compared to the mainline versions and it fits in well and naturallyThis is a very well written story from Urmila’s perspective and strongly recommended if Indian mythology interests you My rating 45 5

  3. says:

    A Great Booki cried and laughed with urmilaI actually lived as her while i was readind the book

  4. says:

    So many uestions keep flooding a thinking individual's mind so after reading thought provoking books like Sita's Sister What is just what is dharma which is bigger a role or an individual where does duty of one end and the personal space of another begin who decides which role takes precedence over another does love mean being someone's weakness or strength should love surpass duty or the other way round and many Kavita Kane brings to fore one of those characters of the epic Ramayana who have grossly been ignored by the center stage lights Urmila is often remembered as one of King Janak's daughters Sita's younger sister and Lakshman's wife Paeans have been written about the sacrifices of the prime characters of the mythology in whose shadow many characters have been eclipsed Lord Ram smilingly renounced his right on the throne of Ayodhya to follow the promise that his father gave to one of his wives His worldly consort Sita gave a glimpse of her fortitude by choosing the same path for herself as was destined for her husband Lakshman chose to let his course get automatically sealed as he could not think of not being with his elder brother during the exile period of 14 years Bharat decided to spend the 14 years of Ram's exile in complete abstinence of all royal pleasures as a way of his penance These are the towering embodiments of ideals in the epic story but often the larger than life sagas end up neglecting the contributions of some who silently bear the conseuences of others' decisions and promises Their greatness lies in invisibly supporting the main playersIn Sita's Sister Kavita Kane has lent that missing voice to Urmila The title itself is extremely well thought out true to the life spent over shadowed and outshone Here Urmila is portrayed as a delicately beautiful spirited young princess who knows her mind and has no ualms in voicing it too She is not the one who wants to live in illusion or any make believe world She comes across as an individual who acknowledges and accepts her situations gracefully whether it is of being a second fiddle to the adopted elder sister Sita or submitting to the fact that her husband would remain committed to his brotherly duties over and above her But this does not push her down rather she reciprocates the favour by being a source of strength for her loved onesShe displays the mettle and the fortitude to provide the anchorage to her family whether it was her parental one or later her marital kinship She tries her best to sew the relationships and while doing so she poses some very pertinent uestions from time to time Her voiced displeasure on Bharat's decision of spending the next 14 years in Nandigram is clear example of her confident and intrepid nerve She uestions his dharma towards his wife Mandavi 'we have talked about all sorts of dharma of the father and the sons of the king and the princes of the Brahmin and the Kshatriya even of the wife for the husband But is there no dharma of the husband for his wife?'There cannot be any surprise on the plot front yet the narrative from the perspective of a different character makes it appear so very uniuely distinctSome other characters that make their presence felt significantly in the story are that of mother Sunaina and Lakshman Though a ueen Sunaina is a mother first and wants happiness of her daughters even if it means disregarding the political bindings The part where she confesses her conduct in front of Urmila would surely touch readers' inner chords 'Probably I expected too much from you Or because I felt you were mine the daughter of my flesh and blood unlike Sita or the motherless Mandavi and Kirti That's why I was over protective for them but harsher to you'Lakshman has always given an impression of being a person who is devoutly committed to his brotherly duties all through his life and his personal relationships and bonds never surface in prominence But in Sita's Sister he comes across as a person who is eually vulnerable and emotional as is any other individual He also needs someone from whom he could derive his treasure of strength To deliver on his lofty ideals he depends on two women in his life his mother and his wife Separation from his wife is no less torturous for him either but he wants his 'Mila' to make it easier for him because he acknowledges what she is in his life 'you are my strength but also my weakness'This story very strongly brings back the memories of MaithiliSharan Gupt's Saket another must read by the connoisseurs of mythology and appreciators of subtle human emotionsKavita Kane's language has contemporary feel to it which makes the narrative relatable for the present day readers Also some of the uestions that are raised in the narrative seem eually relevant Personally I see nothing wrong in re defining and re analysing the age old mythology I firmly believe that the way any story epic or otherwise is understood analysed and presented has a lot to do with a myriad of factors the time and the prevailing mindset customs and culture of that time So when we experience almost complete metamorphosis of our society with time perhaps mythology also looks for re definitions from time to time Cannot help uoting some pearls of wisdom from the book when love surpasses duty it is salvationUnhappiness makes us self absorbed it makes one think only of oneself of the pain and misery one is sufferingOnly with detachment one learns the value of love versus the range of emotions exile from attachment

  5. says:

    I was in Class 3 when my mother first told me the story of Ramayana The sheer grandeur of an epic was intimidating at first prompting me to stick to the rosy details alone Rama was good Sita was pure Hanuman was a hero and Kaikeyi along with Ravana were the Devil or rather Manthara It was simple It was safe Over the years though this simplicity faded and I read many other versions so much complex and unforgiving than my mother's tale I found empathy for Urmila at the age of 15 when I first tried to break down her character Her honesty humanity and most of all unflinching trust in her husband shook me to the core This book reminded me why it did soA tweaked twisted and romanticized version of Ramayana if I may Sita's Sister gives the due respect to a woman who stood tall at a time when giant characters fell Her perseverance passion and liberal mind make her great while her turmoil suspicions and weariness make her human The author lives the life of a practical and passionate woman through the character's voice If the fierce sister protecting Mandavi makes you cheer for Urmila the skepticism towards her mother's judgement makes you realize her insecurity It is rose tinted let me remind you speaking in colours of pink and red the trials the marriage went through and not venturing into the time after Sita's banishment into the forest That would have been destructive to the love birds Lakshman and Urmila That would have been gruesome reality As much as I would have loved to know a little bit on that frontier I settle contently for what the author offers Because she brought back my original heroine of Ramayana She reminded me of the 15 year old girl who secretly disagreed when everyone explained that Ramayana was Sita's story It was so much

  6. says:

    Review in millennium post by Naila ManalhttpmillenniumpostinNewsContent

  7. says:

    ‘O Urmila will the world ever know of your inner suffering your divine sacrifice?’ Sita Sister is maybe Kavita Kane’s attempt to answer this very uestion A rendition of the Ramayana written from the point of view of one of the lesser known characters is what this book intends to be but in the midst of it all it is a story of a beautiful strong and intelligent woman who was mostly ignored throughout centuries of mythological studies and research on Ramayana Urmila the true born daughter of King Janak of Mithila sister of Sita and Lakshman’s wife A woman who had suffered as much as anyone else during Ram’s exile Even though Valmiki has described Urmila’s sacrifice of not going along with Ram Sita and her husband Lakshman as an unparallel sacrifice in his book he had spared only a few verses to Urmila’s story Kane on the other hand gives dimensions to Urmila that has yet been unknownOf course as Valmiki has described her sacrifice was maybe the most interesting part of her life but saying that sure robs Urmila of the multidimensionality that Kane has beautifully endowed her protagonist with Saying that Urmila’s life was all about her sacrifice makes her look like a docile feeble woman who was asked to stay home when her husband had to go protect his brother while she stayed home in the meantime using her time fourteen long years in studying or sleeping there are two versions one that says she studied and became a highly respected scholar of the scriptures which Kane has adopted in her book and the other where she asked Nindra the goddess of sleep to take away Lakshman’s sleep so that he can perform his duty to protect Ram and Sita while Urmila herself would sleep in the entire period of the exileKane’s Urmila is learned and loving sensitive yet strong hot headed but mature In a book based on mythology and religious scriptures Urmila is many times mentioned to be non religious and practical Kane’s Urmila dotes on Sita knowing that Sita is adopted and yet favoured by her parents Without being a brat about it Urmila is understanding and at some point even forgives her parents for the injustice Being the trueborn princess of Mithila she is preferred over Sita who marries Ayodhya’s ‘king to be’ Ram Urmila falls hopelessly in love with the brooding Lakshman knowing that she will always come second to him his first priority being his brotherEven when the fourteen years of exile is suggested she breaks down only for a moment in utter despair but brings herself together just as uickly understanding Lakshman’s priorities But the beauty of this Urmila is that she argues she fights and even if she does not win all the time she lets her voice be heard She fights for Mandavi’s her cousin and Bharat’s wife sake at Chitrakoot She lashes out at the sages and scholars and uestions her husband and her brother’s duties towards the women in their family She takes royal decisions while the princes are away she tries to bring peace to a familyWhile Ram Sita and Lakshman are in exile Urmila becomes a respected scholar What is interesting is that Kane’s book has its own brand of feminism where Urmila’s break the barriers of being just a wife Kane says that the self is not gendered That the mind is the great leveller the great egalitarian truth Urmila is a painter and a scholar she calls a spade a spade and not once has she cowered down because of circumstances Lakshman loves her not because she is docile but because she isn’t And here one can see the great difference that is between her and Sita While Sita is the perfect daughter the perfect wife one cannot help but be impressed with Urmila and her hot heatedness Urmila openly criticises Ram for letting Sita uestioning her chastity after her rescue from Lanka She fights with Lakshman debates with the learned sages and even stands up to Kaikeyi and MantharaSita’s Sister also bring forth other facets of the characters of Mandavi and Kirti Bharat’s and Shatrughna’s wives The blacks whites and greys in the characters of the royal ueens Kausalya Sumitra and KaikeyiIt is an interesting read and Kavita Kane has made sure that the hitherto unknown character of Urmila shines bright throughout the book The book wavers a lot from the popular storyline of Ramayana and thus comparing them is meaningless The book lags a little near the end after Ram’s exile And it leaves the readers with many uestions to ponder upon Had Urmila been a renowned scholar if Lakshman had stayed? Was it right for Urmila to accept being the second choice for not only her parents but also her husband? Is there virtue in loving selflessly without getting a similar kind of love in return? And most importantly as Lakshman’s mother Sumitra puts it ‘Did he Lakshman deserve you? Did we deserve you?’Review in Millennium posthttpwwwmillenniumpostinNewsCont

  8. says:

    Though a bit delayed here is my review of Sita’s Sister as promised to Kavita “‘Oh daughter of king Janak Janaki and princess of Mithila Maithili’ ‘I am neither’ Urmila corrected emphatically” The rightful daughter of Janak and princess of Mithila Urmila has been deprived not just her birthright but her fair share in the epic tooShe is a muted character of Ramayana Our society has been patriarchal for ages The epic talks about the sacrifices of Ram Lakshman and Bharat however little is spoken about the women Their sacrifices are not exalted or even recorded I was interested in reading Sita’s Sister as very little is known about Urmila Kavita has done a wonderful job and the book is great work of imagination It takes a great deal to write about a character which we know exist but do not know much about Urmila has been portrayed as a strong personality brains and beauty passionate yet practical The story is woven wonderfully around her and depicts the emotions of Urmila as a sister new bride responsible wife sensible caretaker and a critical critic Every character makes their presence felt and the bond shared between each of them is heartwarmingKavita’s language is simple easy to follow due to the continuity of the story Kavita used Urmila as a medium to ask uestions that still relates to current day scenario Also I liked the way how the author brings striking contrast between Urmila and Mandavi approach while handling the separation and pressure From the cover art to the finish the book is too good This is a masterpiece by itself and voice of Urmila after so many centuries

  9. says:

    ‘Sita’s Sister’ is a courageous re creation of mythology which presents us with a subaltern viewpoint It seems to be written in response to Lakshman’s burning uestion – ‘O Urmila Will the world ever know of your inner suffering your divine sacrifice?’ yet it is not just her version Every character is given space and voice even if the author does not let them break free from the fabric they were originally created in or turn the events of the story accordingly None is ‘indicted’ by the author just like none is favoured unduly Perhaps Kavita Kané intended to erase the black and white idealism that epics are wont to have So while Kavita subtly shows us ‘ugly cracks in the façade of the palace of Ayodhaya hiding a lot than they showed’ she also works us ‘a reminder of the little evil residing in all of us’ While each reader receives and appropriates this into their contemporary lives the book will make us rethink even if it won’t make us uestion what we have lived believing It will raise the dust make us examine ourselves – in the man made scheme of things and also in the larger pattern Isn’t this what all epics the world over asked of us – Know Thyself? To read the full review click here

  10. says:

    just like her last book that I read and so much loved Karna's Wife this one is no different but what an amazing retelling of epic it works only if you could ignore its misleading title and that it is from the point of view of Urmila Sita's Sister and Lakshman's wife Palace of Illusions still remains my favorite mytho fiction even now and Karna's wife comes a super second but this one even after my wishes couldn't come any closer to the third spot nonetheless remains a superb one time read no doubts on that The biggest challenge I guess the new generation of Authors face must be how to re tell a story which is already beaten to death by so many in the past We the readers keep expecting magic in all the upcoming books with a keen eye and when we see the same story is told in almost the same way but just a little different point of view it just fails In my personal opinion that is exactly what happened with me with this book I just couldn't identify with Urmila at all as she was always the second lead and even the treatment offered by Author here is the same so much limelight is taken away by the happenings than how she was taking it all and what was her reaction to it Barring one outburst that she had while the entire clan visits Ram Lakshman and Sita after the death of King Dashrath is the high point of the book after that it totally derails and never comes up to the mark and my expectations The only good thing this book did was that it made me love Lakshman big time you just can't help but fall in love with the man who is totally devoted to his brother Ram and Lakshman are like one soul in two bodies his dedication to Ram and Sita is just unparalleled Also the character of Bharat gets some due which was over due his reaction to his mother's decision and the way that scene unfolds in Chitrakoot is the high point of the story as I said and simply mind blowing But the unfortunate thing is that the book just doesn't do justice to the title and the main protagonist which it should have done Ironically to the half point of the book the lead pair isnt even separated to take the story any forward Coming back to retelling of the epic of Ramayan and Mahabharat in our part of the world we have a barrage of books and Authors doing the duty of churning out books non stop at a break neck pace in today's time What I expected from this one and what it turns out in the end was like totally poles apart After reading a lot of books in last couple of years and fortunately interacting with some superb writers myself I have learned that what they want rather try to do with their books is to Show and don't tell here Ms Kane to my shock surprise and heartbreak has totally depended on telling rather than showing the reader anything of the era from a different point of view and that is where it failed for me I kept expecting so much from it but that was not to be The limelight keeps going away from Urmila to Lakshman to other important characters of epic and keeps going out of her hands I wish the narrator of the story was actually Urmila against how Kavita decided to tell the story through a third person narration One another thing which actually made me cringe throughout the book again to my shock was everyone calling each other by their first names Which unfortunately even in Fictionalized account of these much loved epics is totally unacceptable to me Think of Lakshman calling Ram as Ram and not Ram Bhaiya even Sita calling Ram as Ram or Lakshman calling Kaikeyi by her first name and not Maa Kaikeyi C'mon it was little too much Also Sita's own younger sister Urmila full time calls her by her first name and even their other two cousins keep calling Urmila and Sita by their first name I just couldn't digest it and that one thing kept spoiling it big time for me throughout the story And please do not tell me that the book is written for an International audience and they wont know the titles they can very well Google them if they want to as we do all the time when it comes to throwing Latin French and German phrases by so many foreign Authors On top of that she has used so many Hindi words without any issues Yes originally the epic of Ramayan is an amazing story which we all are told by our own parents and grand parents to no count This is no different yet it gave me some new pointers like Shanta I didn't know much about Ram's elder sister And I am not even going to do any research on the Historical accuracy of the story as that is totally futile But yes the way she has written or shall I say re written is totally amazing it did grip me to an extent and making me go forward plus it did made me emotional at so many points even after knowing what is going to come next I had tears in my eyes specially the way she explained the scene Total credit to her writing prowess where due but this was a over stretch from imagination point of view The book becomes uite challenging once you cross the 200 page mark 309 total as she actually ran out of data on Urmila and had to actually stoop to the level of Urmila trying to pacify the cat fights her two mother in laws were having in the palace as Ram struggled to free Sita from the clutches of dreaded Ravan Or the regular story of Ramayan will go on but every three or four pages later she will mention Urmila just like that Unnecessarily everyone turning to Urmila and dragging her in conversation became so boring that for once I thought of abandoning it and moving to the next book in waiting But somehow as I never do that to a book I kept going forward and finished it This is the shortest of the book that I have taken the longest to finish almost 7 days Such a heart break and let down for me At the most it just works like an average love story of Lakshman and Urmila nothing special If you have read Sita's Sister do let me know if you like it