The Poison of Love
Author: K.R. Meeta
Translated from Malayalam by Ministhy S.
Publisher: Penguin India
Genre: Literary Fiction
Blurb (as on Amazon.com):
When Tulsi first meets Madhav, she is irrevocably drawn to his chiselled good looks and charm. Although wary of his many dalliances and the string of broken hearts left in his wake, she is surprised by the intense desire that Madhav arouses in her. And before long, she forsakes her family, her prospective career, her fiancé—all for the love of this inscrutable man. But love can be like poison. And nothing can prepare Tulsi for the heartache and betrayal that lie ahead.
Years later, Tulsi escapes to the ancient city of Vrindavan, seeking redemption amidst the cries and prayers of its anguished widows. However, when her past catches up with her, old wounds resurface with dramatic consequences.
By turns savage and tender, The Poison of Love is a spellbinding tale of love and sacrifice, pain and retribution, confirming K.R. Meera as one of our most fearless and accomplished writers.
Tulsi loves Madhav. She elopes with him and they get married in a temple. Madhav is a journalist- a damn famous one. Tulsi is or rather was, a bright student from IIT with record marks and a promising future. She gives it all up for Madhav. In years to come, they make two sweet babies- Unni and Kanna. Sounds great right? Some great decisions and a happy life?
“Love is like milk. With the passage of time, it sours, splits and becomes poison.”
12 years later Tulsi is not Tusli anymore. She is Meera mai- an ardent lover of Lord Krishna. She lives in the city of Vrindavan among other widows, chants – Hare Ram, Hare Ram, Ram Ram, Hare Hare, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. She earns a daily wage of 10 rupees by washing clothes, cleaning temples and begging.
This book is one of the most beautiful books I have come across. Each chapter is preceded by a picture with the chapter number and a bunch of ants walking around. Ants in this story serve much more than just mere illustrations. Ants wander around dead bodies, therefore symbolizing dead and decay. Ants are also a constant part of Tulsi’s life – Ants walking up to a dead Meera bai lying next to Tulsi’s cot in Vrindavan, monkeys surrounding Tulsi like ants in her dreams as well as reality and ants around her beloved kids.
Tulsi loves Madhav. Her love is deep and passionate and intense. Madhav loves her too and so he marries her and gives her two beautiful children. Madhav loves all woman equally. He believes that every woman in this world deserves to be loved and that he gives love as alms.
“Madhav was like a rich dessert. Woman devoured him like ants.”
Tulsi describes her love for Madhav as ‘a serpent that swallowed his own tail‘. It twists around in circles, trying to consume itself. Madhav love, on the other hand, is like acid. It dissolves Tulsi. leaving her vulnerable and hurting. It’s been 12 years since she left her family and her life behind, but she still craves for his touch, his smile. She is strangely aroused imagining the times they made love, the time when she felt like she was the last woman he would ever love. She has loved him with every inch of her soul. She seeks revenge for the miserable life she has been pushed into and retribution for all the ways she has hurt the people who gave her nothing but love.
“Madhav is mine. I will love him forever. I will love him with malevolence. I will defeat him with love. I will defeat him with love. I will purify him. Then, at last, I will merge with him.”
This book is a heartbreaking and devastating tale of how love can destroy you. K.R. Meera’s writing style is brilliant. The use of metaphors makes it an interesting read. This small tale manages to touch our heart and leave it aching.
A new favorite. Adding more books by K.R. Meera to my TBR. How about you?