Valmiki's Women: Five Tales from the Ramayana

Valmiki's Women: Five Tales from the Ramayana Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

4.5 4.5 out of 5 stars 330 ratings

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Product details

Listening Length 7 hours and 28 minutes
Author Anand Neelakantan
Narrator Meher Acharia Dar Release Date 31 August 2021
Publisher Audible Studios
Program Type Audiobook
Version Unabridged
Language English
Best Sellers Rank #8,488 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
#54 in Fairy Tale Fantasy
#397 in Literary Fiction
#2,692 in Myths, Legends & Sagas

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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
330 global ratings

Top reviews from India

Reviewed in India 🇮🇳 on 13 February 2022
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5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating Mythology
Reviewed in India 🇮🇳 on 13 February 2022
VALMIKI's WOMEN by Anand Neelakantan

There is something very special about childhood memories. Growing up in CATC (Civil Aviation Training Centre) Bamrauli, Prayagraj, was a dream childhood. The nerve centre of the colony was the Swimming pool complex. It had a rose garden, lawns for get together and the best of all an amphitheatre where movies were regularly screened and cultural events hosted on stage.

I remember watching many movies including SAMPOORN RAMAYAN a movie that was launched three years before I was born in 1961. The story of Ram, Laxman, Sita and Ravan was one I grew up on. Later the 80's saw the arrival of epic Ramanand Sagar's Ramayana on Doordarshan and once again the childhood memories came back of the amphitheatre.

And today I finished reading VALMIKI'S WOMEN by Anand Neelakantan. The book is extrenely interesting and a book with a stark difference. For Anand writes not from the point of view of the protagonist, but choses to write from the point of view of the anatagonist.

The five stories unfold in a beautiful manner, each one a delight to read. But more than that they take you deep into the story of Ramayan. The author has done extensive research and coupled with his vivid imagination and great prose, produced a fantastic book.

In the very first story, the author writes:
" It was such a beautiful world. The Earth was pregnant with promise. He got his answer. He would capture all the love in the world and create a woman. She would be his story, his message, his love, his goddess, his mother, his daughter. No mortal could give birth to her. She had to be born of Earth. Bhoomija would be her name".

The second story Shanta came as a huge surprise. I had no idea that Lord Rama had an elder sister Shanta.
The story unfolds among other things, the love between Shanta and her saintly husband:
" He treated Pariahs with the same love and respect that he showed royalty. Wherever he looked, he found Brahman. Wherever she looked she found him".

The third story, Manthara gives a powerful narrative of the ugly hunchbacked woman who played an important role:
" This mother. This mother lovely. Manthara hadn't heard a more beautiful lie in her life."

The fourth story Tataka is about the Yaksha ( Nature Spirits) who was cursed to become a Rakashasa. Married to a Gandharva ( Celestial beings whose males are divine singers and females are divine dancers), she worries about her husband who reassures her:

"I will be around singing with the western breeze, singing among the trees, riding the dragonfly wings and drinking nectar from the flowers. I will be there in the murmur of the bamboo, in the laughter of the brooks ; I will ooze down the forest canopy as buttery moonlight and dance with the fireflies, melt in the cuckoo's songs and sleep in the mango blossoms".

And the last story is about Soorpanakha, only I did not know she was also called Meenakshi. Defigured by Lakshman she says:

"It (life) has never ceased to give me a chance Sita. Every breath, every moment, it gives me a chance; it asks me to chose, and I chose beauty. The seers might say I am seeking what I don't have, but I don't care for them much. We can never find what is not within us. I see beauty in everything, Sita, and feel wonderment every moment".

So, the author uses his imagination and research to spin five fantastic tales. A book that is an absoloute must for lovers of mythology as well as those wishing to read captivating stories. So go for it today.
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Reviewed in India 🇮🇳 on 28 March 2023
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Reviewed in India 🇮🇳 on 29 August 2021
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