I got acquainted with the titular author in the summer of 2009 when I received a book written by her as a birthday gift. That was what started my lusty obsession for more of her books. ‘Palace of Illusions’ was the second book I read and ‘Sister of my Heart‘ is the third one. I have seen the screen adaptation of ‘The Mistress of Spices‘ (without realising that CBD had written the namesake) with the Bachchan Bahu in the lead role but it does not really count as I have not picked up its black and white cousin.
I started with the novel in the morning and it was interesting enough that I did not get up till I finished it some four hours later save for a small pee break. The story revolves around two sisters (duh!) and how their fates are intertwined with each others’. Their love for one another is the basis of their relationship and reflects how they view the others around them. There are so many women in this book that you get a glimpse into a myriad of personalities of women, varieties of love whether filial or otherwise and complexities (or fickleness) of human nature. I felt that it was an apt representation of the caste system, the inferior status of women, how men treat their wives even in an equal relationship and the hypocrisy of those around us.
Anyone from India would relate to it on some level. Every love comes with its conditions, even Ashok, the diehard romantic could not love Sudha without conditions however much he protested otherwise. The mother-daughter relationship and the sisterly bond have been presented as the strongest. There is almost a sense of a matriarchal order in the book. Not a single man has been presented in an appealing light. From the spineless Ramesh to the struggling Sunil, it is funny to see how these men base their opinions solely on the basis of facial beauty or lack of thereof.
I would recommend all women and men to read it. Women will relate to it, men would not how not to behave with their SO. Another great book by my second favourite trans-Atlantic Indian author.