On the jacket:
Somewhere, behind closed doors, in her solitary world; somewhere, under the sheets with an indifferent lover; Somewhere, is a woman who will not be denied. Trapped for fifteen years in the stranglehold of a dead marriage and soulless household domesticity, the beautiful, full-bodied and passionate Meera Patel depends on her memories and her flights of fancy to soothe the aches that wrack her body; to quieten an unquenchable need. Until one cataclysmic day in Mumbai, when she finally breaks free... Bold, brazen and defiant, Sitas Curse looks at the hypocrisy of Indian society and tells the compelling story of a middle-class Indian housewifes urgent need for love, respect, acceptance and sexual fulfillment.
This is a very difficult book to review, very challenging rather. When I had picked it up, I was sure it's one of those erotica novels you flip pages through, because seriously ... where is the story? What happened instead was that I got so immersed in the plot, that I had to read it without break to finish reading the story!
I haven't read Kundu before though I am aware of her book of poems which was very well received. I started reading with zero expectations and was very pleased with the story.
Sita's curse if about Meera. Born in a Gujarati family, she has a twin, Kartik. As twins are known to, Kartik and Meera share every moment of their days together, and love each other like no one else can. Kundu has divided the book vaguely into two parts, Meera as a girl in her father's house in Gujarat and Meera as a wife in her husband's house in Mumbai. From Meera's childhood to her mid-thirties, there is a pattern. Of being used, abused and taken advantage of. Yet, there are glimpse of a strong woman in her. Meera is every woman, her story is different yet same.
The plot is intricate and detailed, yet not boring. It sucks you in. At times, I, coming from a different socio-economic background, had to sit back and think, "This really happens?" knowing very well, that it does. From being cheated in a marriage, to being mistreated because she didn't had a child (for no apparent fault of hers), to being used sexually at the whims of the men in her life - from Kartik to Mohan.
Kundu has also incorporated the Mumbai deluge in the plot, and beautifully. The infamous Asaram Bapu case is also hinted at. The ugly face of the society is brought up front, and in very ironic, pitiable manners. Meera does find fulfiment finally - a man who gave her what she really craved for - physically and emotionally - only to be taken away from, by an unfortunate strike of fate.
As I said, I cannot do justice to this book in my review. All I can say is that erotica is a part of it's many aspects. Even if you are not comfortable with erotica, read it for the brilliant story telling.
[This review is for Hachette India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]