Apsaras have often been mentioned in Indian mythology. They are the celestial nymphs, beautiful beyond belief, used by the Devas to keep the powers of asuras as well as the rishis in check. You might have heard of them but they were never the central character of any of the stories. Kavita Kane’s book, Menaka’s choice completely changes that, this story belongs to her. It is her life and her choices that matter the most in this narrative. She is the one who has to bear the brunt of it all.
The book focuses mainly on 3 important choices made by Menaka. Her first life-altering choice was to fall in love with and marrying Vishwavasu, the king of the Gandharvas. He was then banished by Indra from heaven and was forced to roam the earth in the form of a monster. The second choice she makes is to help Indra in breaking Vishwamitra’s meditation and stopping him from becoming a Brahmarishi. The third most heart-wrenching choice that she makes is to leave her newborn daughter with Vishwamitra and head back to heaven. She feels extremely guilty doing this as she has fallen in love with him. But, there is nothing that she can do to stay with him forever. The title of the book, Menaka’s choice is actually a paradox as even though she was making her own decisions, she never really had any true choices.
Like all other Kavita Kane books, this one too is a must-read for every mythology lover. The book does not disappoint and succeeds in giving us another point of view to a well-heard tale. There are some editorial errors in this book, but they can be ignored. The ending however could have been a little more detailed and less hurried. This book really makes you question the way you looked at things during your childhood. Guess the world isn’t as clearly divided into black or white as we thought it was.
You can check out my review of Lanka’s Princess by Kavita Kane here.