Lanka’s princess is a mythological fiction by Kavita Kane, the same author who wrote Karna’s wife. As the title suggests, it’s about Meenakshi, infamously known as Surpnakha (Ravan’s sister) and her’s life journey.

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The book, though a work of fiction, shows us Meekanshi as a daughter, sister, a wife and her eventual transformation to Surpanakha. We know what happened in Ramayana, more from the perspective of Ram. This book reflects on what transpired at Ravan’s camp. What happened to her or Ravan or her family in Ramayana was not due to a single event but series of event which ended with Lanka getting rid of Ravan. As a reader, you will not have sympathy for her actions. At one point, you will grow a soft corner for Ravan, as he was manipulated to go to war with Ram, which resulted in his death.

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Meenakshi or Meenu, the youngest child of Kaikesi and Rishi Vishravas and the only sister of Ravan. Meenakshi was the reason for the war which ultimately killed Ravan. To see Ravan get killed, to see her brother die became the sole motive of her life.
Meenakshi grew up in the ashram of Rishi Vishravas as a defiant kid. Her adamant nature grew stronger more due to her mother’s aversion towards her. She was loved the most by her grandmother, Taraka (who gets killed by Ram in later chapters). Taraka loved her with her flaws and strengths. Taraka helped her learn sorcery much against her father’s wishes. But, that love was short lived. The other person she looked up to was her father, Rishi Vishravas. But that love for her father wasn’t reciprocated. Rishi Vishravas was confused and torn through most part of the first half. He was married to Ilavida, his first wife. But he left her for Kaikesi, an asura and starts his family with her. However, with time Vishravas regrets his decision, especially when he saw Ravan has more qualities of Asura than of a Rishi.

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Meenakshi was never encouraged or loved by her mother or siblings or father. By the time Ravan won Lanka back, she had lost faith that her family loves her or even cares about her. She remained quiet and hurt. She perceived the palace of Lanka as a prison. In spite of the luxury and the opulence, she missed the ashram life where she grew up as a kid with her father. She witnessed her brothers getting married and no one asked her or even talked about her marriage. Her mother cared about Ravan and making political connections to make Lanka strong.

 

And then entered Vidyujiva in her life.  An archenemy of Ravan, but claimed to her that he fell in love with her. With much reluctance, she accepted the love of her life. She found a new meaning and hope in life. However, she had to manipulate her way through to get married to Vidyujiva.They stayed back in Lanka and she gave birth to her son. But her twist of fate was just around the corner. Vidyujiva was murdered by Ravan for treason. Her world came crashing down.

 

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Meenakshi doesn’t want to be with her family anymore.Only reason and hope of her life left was her son Kumar. She presumes she was betrayed by her family members who conspired to kill her husband. The book doesn’t explain if her husband was thinking coup or not. But for Surpanakha he was a good man and a faithful husband ( Ravan tells her, her husband was cheating on her). So she takes revenge on Ravan for whom she has lost her father, her husband and soon loses her son. She uses Ram and Lakshman as pawn achieving her ultimate revenge on Ravan. But, she lost people, she lost Kumbha, her nephews, as collateral damage.

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By the end of the book, characters (both main and sides) contemplate on how we define right and wrong, on how we sometimes get trapped in our own sense of guilt and revenge. Sometimes mistakes are just mistakes, sometimes forgiving is better than getting trapped in revenge, guilt, punishment. Moving on from that point is more important for your own sake.When the war is over, Meenakshi doesn’t have a home, no peace of mind and lost almost most of her family members. With all these thoughts she keeps walking away. And at the end, she’s given a farewell as a Lanka Princess as she thought she deserved.