The Legend of Kuldhara by Malathi Ramachandran : A tale of abandoned village of Rajasthan
Imagine having to leave your home overnight with your entire tribe with no direction of where to go. But you have to disappear in the thin air so that enemies don't track you. You have no time to pack your valuable belongings and memories. Leaving everything behind is so painful, but you must leave it all for your honour. This happened to the people of Kuldhara, a place where Paliwal Brahmins lived many years ago.
Diwan (minister) of Jaisalmer, Saalim Singh once sees Pari, a 15-year-old daughter of the Kuldhara' Mukhiya ( Village chief), and then desires to marry her. He threatens the chief to let him marry her or pay heavy taxes. He gives them some time for thinking. However, all Kuldhara people leave the place overnight, leaving no signs to trace.
This book mostly revolves around Pari. She takes a lot of chances in life, and life leaves no chance to mirror it. An incident in her youth turns her life upside down. We witness her journey from a teenage girl to a woman, a journey that was painful, hopeful and seemed impossible. What happens to Pari and the people of Kuldhara? Do they survive and come back to their homes?
The legend of Kuldhara brings a whirlwind of emotions. In my opinion, loss is a major theme of this book: Loss of love, trust, faith, homes, loved ones, powers, emotions and even lives. This is a retelling of what happened in Kuldhara years ago. This historical fiction is a great, not so usual, emotional and political royal drama. I loved the plot, the characters and the overall essence of the book. It flows beautifully. The language and course of the events do not allow you to put it down. I enjoyed the beautiful writing and found it very mature too. It's rare. Some sentences were so raw yet beautiful that I was speechless. I admire the way the author has portrayed human emotions metaphorically.
I loved the female characters of this book, the most interesting one being the wife of Salim Singh, Parvati. I liked Parvati's intellect and subtle feminism. I also loved the main character's development throughout the story. The women in this story seemed to be wrapped in a shawl of responsibilities, but I liked how they take charge of their lives. I hoped it would happen that way, and it did.
The only things that bothered me are that such a detailed novel felt a bit speedy in the end, and some main characters' lives took very sudden turns in the end. I had so many expectations from some characters, and certainly, some of them lived up to it. But the character of Pratap, who was the right hand of the village chief disappointed me the most. But this is my personal opinion about the character! It somehow made the twist not-so-good for me.
But overall, this book was a treat to read. If you love reading beautifully written Indian historical fictions with rich language and a little suspense, grab this one.