Jeeva is Shiva. Either as a ‘Nirakar’ (formless) entity or as the life energy in every living being, Shiva thrives in people’s consciousness. Shiva’s presence is not only felt in the chants and prayers of ascetics but also in the common man’s household, in folklores. And in the hearts of every woman who aspires to see Shiva’s virtues in their husbands. This is the love story of 25-year old Kattyayni, who saw Shiva and His various ‘Gunas’ in a man. In a firangi, to be precise. Yes, you read it right. A brown-haired, blue-eyed, pale-skinned, 6-footer firangi, born from an American father and a Spanish mother. Kattyayni, who grew up in a traditional Bengali family, has always felt fascinated about the sweet-cute-dutiful, passionate, and sometimes tragic Shiva-Parvati romance, the stories of which she has been hearing from her grandmother since the onset of adolescence. Deep in Kattyayni’s mind sits the Lord, spreading His aura throughout her conscious and subconscious mind. So when Kattyayni meets ‘Rudra’, the firangi who demonstrates a ‘shudh desi’ way of life by embracing yoga, rudraksh, dhoti, khichdi, and his beloved ‘Shiva’, Kattyayni finds a deep connection with him. This is a connection that goes beyond the level of her heart to touch her soul, to a point where love becomes totally unconditional. She sees Neelkanth, Adiyogi, and Vaidyanath in the firangi. But at the same time, she feels a deep desire to know Rudra’s actual identity. Who is Rudra? Set in the mixed cultural backdrop of Goa and flavoured with the ethnic specialties of Kolkata, this romance will surely knock at the minds of those who are in love or looking to find true, selfless love
Two upbringings, an Indian and a foreigner(firangi) fall in love and the Indian sees Shiva in him through his morals, ethos and traditions.
To the romance enthusiasts here, this is a salver of delicacy that you would relish in a Shudh desi style. The tray is both Indian and continental but still desi.
The cover is dressed decently- but could have been improved. The blurb is too elaborative and could have edited for better.
Now on to the writing, the language is eloquent and Dipnanda has made sure the tide is kept smooth. I loved the protagonist Kathy or Kattyayni and her depiction has a charm that anyone would fall for her. Its been long that I fell for a desi protagonist. You will also delve into Bengali ethnicities and recognize much more of the culture and it was an eye-opener. Occasionally, I felt the story being too sugary at some places, but this doesn’t stop the book turning tide.
A Shiva Bhakt myself- I was able to connect to Katty’s devotions and felt the divine goosebumps.
The chase of altruistic love with a tweak of desi upgrading has kept this book turning. The merger of mystical, romance, culture, love, detriment with a lot of twists have made this book one of a laidback read this 2020.