There have been innumerable retellings of the Ramayana. The Girl Who Chose is mythologist Devdutt Pattnaik’s take on the epic. The book is based on the premise that no one in the mythological story had a choice, but for Sita.
Lord Rama was a sun-prince who didn’t have a choice but to uphold the family rules, as it was his dharma. Then, king Ravana had no regard for rules or anyone’s choices. Sita is the one who could choose and who chose. Therefore the line - ‘You are bound by rules, but not I. I am free to choose.’ Therefore, from this standpoint, the Ramayana is a result of Sita’s five choices.
What are those five choices? You’ll find out in the book. Besides that, you’ll also discover that choices have consequences. When you make a choice, you have to accept the result, too. Pattnaik successfully drives the point home that even if you make a choice thinking that it is in everyone’s best interest, it may have unpleasant results.
However, if you have grown up watching the epic on TV or hearing the stories about it, you may not find something new. At various points, there are small boxes that attract the reader’s attention to an important aspect of the epic or enlist a fact. The illustrations though out the book complement the story. One can even use these as a colouring-in book. Aimed at young readers, the book is a new look at the 2000-year-old story that can be enjoyed by adults alike.
Title: The Girl Who Chose: A New Way of Narrating the Ramayana
Author: Devdutt Pattanaik
Price: Rs 199
Publisher: Puffin Books India
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