The Palace Of Illusions -By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

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The Palace Of illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The Palace of Illusions – Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Book Cover)

Genre: Fiction

No. of Pages: 360.

Publication House: PICADOR – PAN MACMILLAN

Felicitation: An International Best-seller.

Published Date: 1st January, 2008 by Doubleday.

Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Why all the spontaneous mystic plights have got a masculine narration, just because feminine shades were taught to stay behind curtains of silence and veils of inferiority complexes. But as we jog down the memory lane, the brook of trodden times told all untold but was the voice of queens spoke to describe a kingdom’s might and a mass. If yes, then Chitra’s Palace of illusions is a must read for you to track down the timeline of a Kingdom of Hastinapur whose history is revisited through Panchaali’s perspective and perceptions.

Why did all the tales in time back then were told by male’s eyes or highlighted the glimpses of by masculine perspective. The dilemmas of scenes were told by the emotions sailing in a bread-earner’s mind who remained silent was the one who decorated the shade over- mast and fed the future of the family.

Why was so? Perhaps, we as a society sapiens were conditioned with a fat of a fact that gentlemen not so gentle, seemingly, had a sagacity of supine sapience. Back then, women took breathe under the veils so their voices too, it was really sort of a big bang theory vast and vibrant to see and find women speaking out their own narrations on the daily normal of their life. It wasn’t so that they never had something to speak out but the fact was they were neither provided by the place, juncture nor the stature of recognition to drawn their own station of relevancies and reconditions to the realities striking next.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni with her novel The place of illusions
Chitra (Author) Alongside her Novel

In this book of golden time, Chitra ,wisely, titles it “The Palace of illusions” as the book narrates the revolutionary plot of the penance palace of Hastinapur, whose formalistic family-drama was an aftermath of the battle of learnings and The Mahabharata-  where the history beckons to provide us the prophecies and teachings of the living world today, But the blessing in the disguise for this fable is it is told  by a feminine face of Draupadi- The panchali, the single wife of five brothers namely pandavas . Since the prime hours of story times, we have always told this massive mathematics of life through either Lord Krishna’s concept or the ordeal of Arjuna’s to battle against his own flesh and blood just to harbor justice being a part and parcel of turmoil.

Here, we get to explore this epic through the lens of Draupadi- the feministic façade of a boon and a curse at the same dais. She begins introducing how she took a birth -as in real her father- Draupad Naresh wanted a son for his will and will- sake of life but how out of a prayer she and her brother were born out of fire. How they came to this very being to verdict the’Dwapara Yuga’ possible.  How she always fantasied for ‘Karna’ during her days of raging hormones and how she struggled to manage her horses in stable when she heard about his life and his being as an individual that always grabbed her attention making her wanting and desiring him, how she was taught to carry her confidence as a princess and soon to be Queen.

She talks about her marriage where Arjuna hits the fish eye- seeing its reflection in water to make her his own better-half. Later, how she deals with five husbands as a single wife- “Panchaali” as Kunti– her mother-in-law since the first cry of her sons shared all the commodities equal to her children so do, she too in an equanimity is a wife of all the brothers, altogether to balance the pendulum of disc of division to sustain equilibrium in brotherhood. She narrates how it was to be a wife of five men at a same time wherein she will play the role of each’s at a fixed duration of time. She talks how her intimate moments were with each five of them, wherein she always yearned and longed for Arjuna but Bheema was candidly caring. However, it was too awkward to switch between husbands as per the accordance of shuffling turns of tables with each one as then other brothers who are her husbands will act as her brothers-in-law. She beautifully captures a canvas of how women deal with many men at a single matter and moment of time. She breathes the awkward silences still never crosses her limits if she is in demand of something personal to her already mate but goes through the stale mate to sustain the righteous pathway of fundamental thin lines of dignity that tested her as an indigenous wife.  

Then the plight roles towards the Game of Adharma, how she was put on sale and got sold equating in those dices of bones – she was disrespected in the market, in front of all wise saints, esteemed elders of  home who saw her being ruptured and losing respect, where she cries out for help, all cry with her but none came to her rescue except for her childhood friend- Krishna whom she yelps in pain in her thoughts to save her being bare in the bazaar of billions of the mighty kingdom, all her husbands saw her being thrashed and losing colors but she cryingly memorizes Krishna who protects her and preserves her dignity by making her meters of saree long and infinite. How she forgets all her pain, trauma, worries and sorrows of sworn remembering him and how a true friend always holds your back during and in the need of the hour.

Later, how after she curses her law of land to be a barren land of dead bodies and desert of declines to doctrine in the upcoming ages and breathes of the time, they all will witness. How she boycotts the woman decoration of a “Chudamani”, which is a lotus-shaped, Indian headdress, studded with jewels and embellished with gems, worn in the center of a knot of hair deriving its name from chuda meaning ‘bundle of hair’, and mani meaning ‘jewel’ which is worn by women as a mark of respect to their husbands by keeping their significance at a crown position of authority. She smashes it across the stage of sages and saints to show her rage out of disrespect which she always worn as a mark of respect towards her husbands, she says now it is of no need to wear it so top -as her husbands are the ones who made her lose her dignity by their deeds, which she will only sworn again when her dignity-takers are dead in her feet, yelping for what a misdoing they have encountered will be an instance in wits for ages which will not be a curse to this throne but to the masculine strata who will now seek an opportunity to attack on dignities of woman in house as well as in towns in the plays of position and power.

Furthermore, as a part of losing the game, they marched for a penance to forestry called vanvas (exile) ‘and during their exile how she and her husbands extracted essence of skills in an order to war out the vultures who tried to took her dignity away, How she meditated and walked to Krishna- her sole light in the dark, his guidance and approach to teach her how to deal with the things so blunt still brave, filled with bravado but at the same time so remorseful. How he blessed her with a vision to see what all is going in a battlefield by going on a hill at a time of war but its consequences to see her laws getting guillotined were gullible, aghast of emotional roller-coasters she witnessed to see blood bath and bloodshed. How Abhimanyu- the young and the best archer was hatched to kill under an illicit illusion and his wife Uttara was waiting with an eager eye with their baby coupling and budding in her womb just to know the death of the father of her baby. How saddening and depressing it was to lose her man when she shouldered and sheltered on him the most. How much painstaking and tooth- gritting the universes’ cosmic sciences become in this galore of life to upstand truth and dharma. Then how they win the war of Kurukshetra and the throne of might- Hastinapur and later the curse to Krishna stated by Kandahari seeing her sons dead in the battlefield- the blind eye Queen takes the take on Krishna’s kingdom where entire his ages cursed to get submerged in a water body and the narration ends on a note where Draupadi and Pandavas head to Himalayas to witness peace and sapience in the lap of snow where it is said between the chests and crests of peaks, the Shiv-Parvati reside and how they get covered in snow and lost their track of time and communicable notions with each other on the note of the decline and verge of extinction.

Some of the lovely lines outpoured by the book are mentioned underneath that opened my eye- far and widen my horizons as a writer and how fluid words are always a piece of wit and work of art :-
  1. “How a man, who had lost everything,
    Even himself,
    Can still be the master of woman And pawn her?”

2. “Expectations are like hidden rocks in your path – all they do is trip you up.” 

3. “Your Childhood hunger is the one that never leaves you.”

4. “There was an unexpected freedom in finding out that one wasn’t as important as one had always assumed!”

5. “We cannot force ourselves to love- or to withhold it. At best, we can curb our actions. The heart itself is beyond control. That is its power, and its weakness.”

6. “Love comes like lightning, and disappears the same way. If you are lucky, it strikes you right.”

7. “But Krishna was a chameleon”.

8. “I am buoyant and expansive and uncontainable—but I always was so, only I never knew it!”

9. “Doesn’t the imagination always exaggerate- or diminish – truth?”

10. “I thought that if lokas existed at all good women would surely go to one where men were not allowed so that they could be finally free of male demands.”

11. “Because ultimately only the witness- and not the actors- knows the truth (Vyasa to Draupadi)”.

12. “Were the stories we told each other true? Who knows? At the best of times, a story is a slippery thing. Certainly no one had told us this particular one, through it was the tale we most needed to know. It was, after all, the reason for our existence. We’d had to cobble it together from rumors and lies, dark hints Dhai Ma let fall, and our own agitated imaginings. Perhaps that was why it changed with each telling. Or is that the nature of all stories, the reason for their power?”

13. “At least try not to be fool enough to give him mastery over you. But your brain is probably too addled with romance to retain anything I’m saying you”.

14. “We laughed together. But the laughter faded quickly. The jokes fell from us; only the uncertainties we’d tried to hide beneath them remained.”

15. “Suicide is the coward’s way”.

16. “The unknown is always more fascinating than the known”.

17. “Nothing has more power over us than the truth.”

18. “Time is like a Flower. It visualized a lotus opening, the way the outer petals fall away to reveal the inner ones. An inner petal would never know the older outer ones, even though it was shaped by them, and only the viewer who plucked the flower would see how each petal was connected to others.


The Place Of Illusions By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The Palace of Illusions

Thought tree

Few lines, Few Thoughts-

This book is a mystic tale matching its take of energy with universe as it is a brim of realities, traumas and most crucially the decisions that either pose a threat, dilemma or the discipline of life which is tricky and pricky enough to wobble your world upside down, then tumble will fetch and bring the bumble of predicaments to your door-way.

Central Idea of the Book:

I really, recommend this modern mythology as, it is a mixed bag of down the lane learnings as well as the beautiful amalgamation of harsh hearings and rueful realities life throws on a person where glossy glass ball if shattered will harp a hero to be zero wherein to lead more than courage, what needed is the truth and you never know when double- delicacies of life can plant a cakewalk for you or a disastrous eggshell platter.

The principles of life are decent but its disciplines are unpredictable and can put us on the two-ways trajectories, either you make it a projectile or a crackdown that will truly decipher your own very being. Going back on words can out-rule and cost you your own tongue of promises. Games inclusive of power, authority and entity always verdicts an ending on a grim note. The nest where bird breeds and blossoms may be his bed at last but still, we all have to achieve that bed. Venge is a victim of ego-trip and the trade of testimonies is its tale and entry of fate. The fruition of life-cycle is honesty- its brick is neither laid-back nor futuristic but just the sublime and subtle presence.

Critical Analysis:

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an Indian American author who has her own niche of astonishing as well as the hypnotising nuance of creative bubble of words, she writes shattering the widest horizons of limitations. Her thought- process is docile, sensory to appeal her word of mouth to resonating lives of humans inhaling and exhaling in modern generation. She invokes the values as well as cultivates that serene scenes in your imagination that are worth living and answering in your life as a mammal. She crops up her says, as if that is what we all wanted to hear and comprehend which is altogether at the end a true amalgamation   magic and fire.

Varshi’s vocal and voice (my perception):

Truth is a soul’s voice, it empowers you and ignites from within which makes you sparkle while others shine, it is what will always come into play of a motion one way or the other but yes- just that exists with legs upfront high and straight.

Hope you had a happy reading.

Love & Grace,

AV reads.

Until then stay eager and read better!!!

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