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Lanka’s Princess Paperback – 1 December 2016

4.3 out of 5 stars 212 ratings

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From the Publisher

Kubja swallowed, staring at him blankly. ‘That paste out there in the bowl,’ he urged, pointing to the brass container. ‘Could you please apply some on my forehead? It’s really very hot. Some sandal paste would be cooling!’ He lowered his head so that she could follow his request. ‘It’s meant for the king!’ she snapped. ‘I have to take it to him now.’ Just a little?’ he begged, his winning smile not slackening.

Kubja hesitated. ‘I am a maidservant,’ she said in a low tone. ‘A hunchback. A pariah.’ ‘Never mind, but your sandalwood is heavenly!’ he dismissed airily, thrusting his face closer.

She quickly dipped her hand in the paste and raised it to his face, gazing straight into his twinkling eyes, smearing his forehead tentatively, her hands shaking. She heard him sigh in satisfaction.

‘It is cool!’ he exclaimed, swiftly stretching out his well-muscled arms in front of him so that she could apply some of the paste there as well. She was surprised that she obliged him, not unwillingly. She felt a cold shiver of pleasure run through her as her calloused fingers touched his skin. She could not refuse him, and she was strangely drawn to this handsome stranger. ‘Gratitude!’ grinned the man. ‘I feel like a new man now!’ Kubja blushed. ‘Yes, my sandalwood is the best in town.’ ‘I’ll come back to you once I am done with the king,’ he said. ‘Where do you stay?’

Overwhelmed, she pointed a shaking, twisted finger at the house across the road. ‘I’ll meet you soon. I promise!’ he smiled, waving at her. She watched him walk down the street, away from her, not believing his words which were still floating back in her mind. She sighed. She knew she would not see him ever again. It was almost a fortnight later, the sky had dusked to a deep purple, when she heard a knock on the door. Kubja frowned. Who could it be? Certainly not some call from the palace. After all, King Kamsa is dead now. The city was rife with rumours and jubilation that he had been killed by his nephew, Krishna. The name sent a shiver through her again. Was he that young man she had met on the street some days back? She heard the knock again. It was louder and more persistent.

Kubja hobbled to the door, opening it impatiently. She was greeted with an unexpected sight and a jovial voice. ‘I said I would come back!’ said the young, handsome man, standing with his arms akimbo.

Krishna! Before she could recover her breath and senses, he had stepped inside her small room.

‘What do you want?’ she spluttered. ‘You.’ Kubja gasped, her face drained of colour. ‘I have heard you are a kind man, sir. Don’t make fun of me so cruelly!’ she said angrily, tears of hurt shining in her sullen eyes. ‘You are a prince, a hero. A handsome young man. What does he want with a poor, ugly hunchback like me? Why are you here?’ ‘To make you happy. You have suffered enough, my dear,’ he said. The gentleness in his voice hurt her. Kubja winced, her eyes filling with sudden tears, recalling each moment of her wretched life—the taunts, the stones pelted at her, the wicked sniggers, the contempt on peoples’ faces. Her very sight made them loathe her. ‘Even the name given to you is cruel—Trivakra, disjointed at three places,’ he murmured touching her lightly under her chin and raising her tear-streaked face to his. She felt a tremor at his touch. ‘Please don’t mock me,’ she whispered. ‘How many saw the beauty behind this ugliness?’ he asked gently. ‘Beauty?’ she drew back, her face confused. ‘Yes, you are supposed to be kind and selfless, and that’s what I have heard,’ said Krishna. ‘None!’ she whimpered. ‘I have been living a life of hell. Even the dogs and kids bark at me whenever I pass them… What did I do to lead such a cursed life?’ ‘No more,’ he assured her, pressing her chin and touching her feet with his toes. She felt a crackle of heat flash through her, from toe to head, the heaviness of the hump suddenly easing, the spine slowly straightening, pulling her up to make her stand tall and willowy. She stared at her arms, her skin was creamy and glowing. She caught her reflection in the mirror. She was lovely. She looked down at her body. It was not twisted, but buxom in its beauty with full, firm breasts, a slender waist and flaring hips over slim, long legs.

‘What did you do?’ she cried hoarsely. ‘You made me a new man with your sandal paste, remember? I made you a new woman!’ he smiled. ‘You are laughing at me!’ she cried, her lips trembling. ‘Who are you?’ ‘Don’t you remember?’ he asked softly. ‘I am the one who turned you down once. I am that same man. Ram then, now Krishna.’ Kubja shook her head frantically. ‘Ram?’

‘Yes. I come for you Kubja, for the grave misdeed I committed in my last life, where you were Surpanakha in your previous birth. And I was Ram.’

She stared at him transfixed, speechless. ‘You were born a beautiful princess Meenakshi, the sister of the asura king Ravan, but your wickedness turned you into a monster—Surpanakha, the woman as hard as nails…’ he explained. ‘Do you remember me? The man who rejected you and in your wrath you took a terrible revenge on me, my wife Sita and my brother Lakshman…?’

‘What did I do so terrible then that I had to lead this life in misery?’ cried Kubja, terrified.

Krishna smiled, taking her trembling hand in his. Kubja felt a strange sense of fulfilment.

‘Well, allow me to tell you your story…’

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Product details

  • Publisher : Rupa Publications India; Latest edition (1 December 2016)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 280 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 8129144514
  • ISBN-13 : 978-8129144515
  • Item Weight : 340 g
  • Dimensions : 12.95 x 1.8 x 20.07 cm
  • Country of Origin : India
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 212 ratings

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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
212 global ratings
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Top reviews from India

Reviewed in India on 12 April 2019
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Reviewed in India on 22 April 2019
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Read!
By Arghya Chakraborty on 22 April 2019
Lanka's Princess ~ You have seen her, portrayed always as a sinner, a monster, an hideous rakhshas. But is that all there is? Or is Surpanakha a victim of patriarchal society? A victim of social injustice?

Read this book from @kavitakane to know more about Surpanakha and her story. Her story proves that there is always more than what meets the eye.
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Reviewed in India on 30 March 2021
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Reviewed in India on 20 February 2017
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Star Wand
5.0 out of 5 stars The Story of Shurpanakha
Reviewed in the United States on 19 June 2017
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Prof. B. S. Khanna
5.0 out of 5 stars looks like the present day family
Reviewed in the United States on 13 February 2017
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in the United States on 10 February 2017
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