Book Review: Story of Sita - Nabeena Srikanth

Story of Sita by Nabeena Srikanth begins with the character of Sita of the mythical Ramayana. The purpose of this book is to investigate the figure of Sita, as the archetype of the Indian imagery. The book describes how Sita get banished from the kingdom because of an act that she did not commit.

The author sees in Sita an icon of female self-determination. She survives a society that would restrict her in her development. The story moves from the things that never happen but that have existed forever.

Mythology always has a religious content. Myths got used to define interpersonal behavior. Myths remained alive because they were always told. Already in antiquity, different varieties were circulating. The re-narrations originated in different places, from new experiences, and from other interests.

Some myths got recounted again and again to the present, so the myths got secularized. A myth is of such a quality of interpersonal conflict that it can get told without the cooperation of gods. The Ramayana is an epic that belongs to the sacred books of Hinduism. It was not transmitted by God, but by the tradition of man.

The Story of Ramayana

Rama, the prince of Ayodhya and his wife Sita were the ideal royal couple. Rama is brave, wise and obedient, and Sita is beautiful and generous.

After several episodes, Sita gets kidnapped by Ravana, the ruler of Lanka. With the help of Hanuman and Sugriva, Rama declared a war against Ravana in which he died and Sita returned. At the end of the period of expulsion, Rama returned to Ayodhya along with his wife Sita and his brother. Yet, the tragedy is not over.

Sita gets accused of committing adultery during her captivity. Rama doubts Sita's purity and rejects her. Then in scenes of overwhelming pain, Sita submits herself to the test of fire. She wants to give public testimony of the integrity of her purity. But Rama argues that her queen should not only be pure but should appear to be. So he sends her into exile (despite her innocence).

Sita gets banished by him because his kingdom is more important to him than her. She goes to the jungle and takes refuge in the hermitage of Valmiki. Here she gives birth to two twin sons, Lava and Kusha. They become disciples of Valmiki.

Later, Rama learns about Lava and Kusha. Rama's heart gets broken watching Sita in exile. But Sita is resolute as Rama rejected her in the neediest hour. But her heart gets broken once again. Lava and Kusha accuse her of denying them of their royal pleasures. They leave her and Sita lives with her memories like a wretched woman. These are, as in the old myth.


Story of Sita is a walk through classical mythology in search of the essence of the feminine. Nabeena Srikanth also tells the story of Sita as a woman who is in desperate search of love. In this way, she gets caught between the morality of her husband and the society. Sita's tries to assert herself but fails.

In the myths, Sita appears sometimes beautiful and seductive and sometimes cold. And at other times, she is a faithful wife and loving mother. The core of femininity gets glimpsed in Sita. Like women at all times, she has to fight to reclaim the dignity of the feminine soul.

Through the Indian myths, Nabeena Srikanth takes us to the depths of the feminine soul. We discover Sita as a woman who must go beyond myths, starting from being a myth created by man. We see her courage, generosity and her particular way of understanding the world. We see the infinite nuances that make up the universe of an irreverent and passionate woman.

We can see an icon of equality in Sita. But she is not a figurehead for a new matriarchy. Sita is not the protector of women because she is not ready to adapt and play according to the rules of the man's game.

The author goes back to an ancient India where the ancestral female voices were still strong. In this volume, we discover the social concerns of the past. The darkest recesses of the emotional, social and personal sphere get shaken.

To tell the story, Nabeena Srikanth uses an artifice. She lets Sita speak from her perspective, describe her interests, and her intentions. It not only makes it clear why and how a scapegoat gets made. It also makes it clear how, by what interests, and by what means a myth get made.

The author leads us through the meanders of formation of the figure of the Sita. It assumes the scary and negative meaning we know well.

Story of Sita

Dandiya Dance Celebration in Navratri

Navratri gets celebrated with great devotion throughout India. It is the worship of the goddess as primordial feminine divinity. She is present in almost all mythologies and date back to the Neolithic, if not even the Paleolithic.

How vain had been the attempt to capture the vitality of the moment. I could feel the joy of the people and sit there for a long time. While I got inspired by the music and the ease of the atmosphere, I fell into a daydream.

The day before, I was sitting on a bench in front of the temple, watching the multitude of people. They turned around each other in a peculiar manner. Men and women in colorful clothes gave themselves to a playful and enchanting dance. My camera tried in vain to capture what it could still grasp in a dim light. It froze the same motion into a static image in a moment, while the circle continued to move.

Today, after I had finished my light evening meal, I walked past the temple again. I turn right after a little hesitation. I cross the wrought-iron arch to the forecourt and then sit down on the simple bench. I try again to take a picture with the camera and come close to the steps, which lead to the covered dance floor.

When an older man grabbed me by my hand, I have already lost any possibility to save myself from this situation. He squeezes two colorful wooden sticks called Dandiya Sticks. He then pulls me into the living circle.

So I dance from one end to the other part of the Dandiya Raas. It is on the occasion of the nine-day celebration of the Navratri festival. Although popular all over India, Dandiya celebration originated from Gujarat.

I learn the movement and subordinate myself to the rhythm of the group. In time with the music, I strike the left stick in a backhand movement to the left. and then with the right hand to the right on the stick of the counter. As my whole body moves in rhythm around my hips, I strike my two sticks to my right. And then to the two sticks of my counterpart, by pulling out to the upper left.

Dandiya Dance Celebration in Navratri

After each stride, I walk a step forward and play the game with a new man or a new woman. Since these are two opposing circles, I meet new people. Sometimes I exchange embarrassed or resolute looks with them. I bend down to the young children and then set me up again, to honor an elderly lady in the sari. The men are dynamic, suggesting blows and play with full energy. While the women are less energetic, but dance with the same joy.

Before I take a pause, an older man drags me to exchange a last hesitant stick strike with me.

The ninth and last day is also known as Mahanavami. I go once more to the temple in the evening after dark and sit down again on a bench. After ten minutes, a young man immersed in the dance recognizes me again. It implies that I should come and he greets me with his broad smile.

With the Dandiya sticks in my hand, I start to dance and move, exchanging smiles while moving from one man to the next. Today the young women in their Anarkali suits look more charming. I dance for a good hour and share the real joy that comes to me here with all those present. Small children in an innocent manner bounce their sticks, so I get to be careful not to hit on the fingers.

The evening ends with a puja in honor of the goddess Durga. Oil lamps get kindled. The crowd begins to sing a religious song accompanied by a loud drum and rhythmic clapping as I set off to taste some Navratri delicacies.

Book Review: Dance Of The Spirits - Sanjai Velayudhan

Book Review: Dance Of The Spirits - Sanjai Velayudhan
Dance Of The Spirits by Sanjai Velayudhan tells us a story of destiny that each human being could suffer. I was especially interested in this book, for its backdrop of Theyyam and the old customs of our culture. On the first page, Sanjai gives us a deeper insight into the meaning and some rituals performed.

Theyyam is a prehistoric ritual theatre in Kannur in Kerala on the Malabar coast. The sounds of drums get beaten since ancient times. Many believe that the origins go back to the Neolithic period.

Appropriate rituals get organized in the open air for hundreds of deities. It includes spiritual beings, mythical ancestors, and personalized animals. During the performance, the dancers reach a kind of trance state. And so they accept the role of the God worshiped in the moment. At this moment, the dancer is the Godhead.

The book is better suited for this because it has a more mystical mood. The story develops through the tale of a research scholar from the United States. She is on a trip to India to do a thesis on Theyyam. It is an experience so strange that Maria cannot have requested for more.

Maria forges a close bond with Krish, who acts as her native escort. She sees the veil that separates us from the spiritual world becoming more permeable. Maria recognizes more of the things that are visible only to the heart.

Together, they travel to the cabalistic realm of spirits, serpent-gods, and illicit riddles. From time immemorial, people celebrate these holy days with customs, oracles, and rituals. Maria feels that human life gets characterized not only by the course of the seasons. They are also by the rituals and customs associated with it.

As curio gets the better of her, Maria, unfortunately, must pay the price. The end is bitter and one many get tempted to shout aloud. Because with it another, wonderful nerve of humanity gets hit. It is the will to keep control and still be helpless to destiny.

This magical book has the strength that gives a good insight into the human mind. It also allows us to experience the many customs and rituals have been part of human life for centuries. In the meantime, the traditions get revived as Maria goes deeper, and so many surprises await her as well as us.

Dance Of The Spirits by Sanjai Velayudhan takes a special place as the description is fantastic. It is not a book in which supernatural beings emerge or extra-terrestrial beings. The boundaries between intimate reality and mysterious magic seem to run away.

At the beginning, the reader has the feeling that Sanjai Velayudhan would only tell a story by the way. As the reader continues to read, the author flashes through a perfidious characteristic. It is because the fate of a person is being decided.

The reader can get torn between grief, hysterical laughter, indignation and speechlessness. Behind all these things is the truth that every person dies lonely. There is an existence stuffed with meaningless things in the mirror of one's own death.

And yet the novel reveals that there is no other possibility, for we know what death is only when it meets us. Sanjai Velayudhan has packaged all these things in a short novel. It thus triggers a roller coaster ride of emotions in the reader.

Dance Of The Spirits is an emotional work. But even without this reference, the novel would not fail. A distressing picture gets painted without exaggeration. So one should read the book itself. The fact that some things get relativized is comprehensible. But at the same time, it also represents a painful insight which we cannot escape.

This well-written book is an emotional treat! It is not only beautiful, but is also a damn honest book. It is not a horror novel, yet is frightening. It is like a drama, but taken from the real life.

How to Purify Air at Home Naturally - 10 Tips

Air pollution within our home can be greater than the outside air. Studies show that the substances present in the domestic walls are a source of pollution. Other factors that may cause poor air quality to breathe are paints and other particles. They are often very dangerous for the health of those who live or stay there.

Among the diseases related to domestic pollution are respiratory infections, bronchitis, asthma, allergies. Unfortunately, the time we get in contact with nature is inadequate. For thousands of years, man has lived in a natural environment. The human body has adapted in the same way as plants and animals.

Breathing fresh air is fundamental to each person's health. Whether it's children, adults, or the elderly. Unfortunately, this is possible in the less urbanized areas, especially in the hills.

How to Purify Air at Home Naturally

Do you want a simple way to purify your home air? Here are 10 Tips for breathing clean air in your home.

1. Always ventilate the environment

Every day open the windows in every room for at least 10-15 minutes. Whether it's raining or there is the sunshine, it's always better to allow a good air exchange. It is a good rule to ventilate your home every morning and every night before going to bed. Even sleeping with the open window is good to ensure a better supply of oxygen. In this way, we can breathe in our home a clean and hygienic air as it happens outside after a nice rain or thunderstorm.

2. Choose safe products

While choosing a paint or other material, consider environment friendly alternative. If you have white curtains and live in the center of a large city, you will soon realize how smog is able to enter our homes. They will become gray every day. It is necessary to clean curtains, rugs, and any removable furniture. Besides capturing the pollution particles, they are a good shelter for dust and mites.

3. Keep some plants in the house

Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Plants also clean the air by neutralizing volatile substances present in the air. There are different species of plants that can come to our rescue. Ficus can also help filter out pollutants that are lurking in carpets or home furniture.

So even if it's harder to get, it is an ideal living room plant. To neutralize the effect of toxic paints, dracaena plant is useful. It grows well even in poor lighting conditions. No plant works against formaldehyde like bamboo.

Aloe Vera is not only good for health, if taken in very small quantities, but it cleans the air of our environments.

4. Do not smoke at home for anything in the world

The damaging effect of cigarette smoke on the lungs is well documented. Smoking inside your home not only affects you, it is detrimental to the people around you. A home with cigarette smoke may be more polluted than an avenue with cars by the level of air concentration.

We know how complicated it is to stop smoking and we urge you to do it. But, if you cannot, at least respect this place as a smoke-free space. This, moreover, serves as an excuse to smoke less since you will not be going out all the time. Tobacco smoke contains harmful substances and they are as harmful.

5. Avoid synthetic fabrics on sofas, curtains, carpets

These tissues get made with petroleum derivatives. Over time, they will be releasing thousands of chemicals that are quite harmful to our health. As the best option, use natural linen or cotton fabrics.

6. Do not make the bed immediately when you get up

This advice may seem strange to you. In our bed's nest those bugs that we so hate. Mites are very comfortable sleeping with us. They feed on the moisture that emanates with the sweat produced during sleep. If we make the bed immediately when we get up, we will conserve much of that moisture. It not only contributes to the bad smell, we will be providing a great atmosphere for mites to live.

The ideal option is to leave the house ventilated as we said at the beginning and not to make the bed. Wait till the late morning or mid-afternoon. It may seem sloppy, but it is a good tactic to avoid respiratory and allergic problems. And if we do not adopt the right behaviors, they will live together with our loved ones without us realizing it.

7. Use natural air fresheners

Essential oils that spread fragrances in the environment are not a solution to get clean air in the home. Incense or scented candles are some of the most common domestic air pollutants. These products mask the bad smell under a chemical fragrance and that is not so healthy.

You can make natural air fresheners at home without spending more money. Take advantage of things as simple as coffee grounds. You can dry them or put them in decorative glass containers.

Another option is to use the skin of oranges or lemons to make a natural air freshener. Take the skin and make tiny bits trying to discard as much interior as possible. You can put it in the pots too or in the same containers. And by the way, you can eat some fruit, right? Is there anything cooler than the smell of citrus?

8. Use organic cleaning products

When we use cleaning products we introduce many harmful chemicals into our environment. These products can increase the risk of developing allergies and add to the chemicals in the air. Use organic products free of chemicals.

9. Avoid moisture in indoors

Take care that there is no poor waterproofing or rain enters the house through windows or doors. Moisture is a suitable medium for allergy-causing fungi and mites to develop.

10. Pay attention to the paints

Check that the paint on the walls is not loose or peeling. Residues of dry paint, falling from the walls, can go into the home air. When you paint a room, check for proper ventilation. One way to reduce polluting substances in homes is to use something more natural. Avoid using glues and chemical paints (especially those with solvents). There are paints that absorb bad odor, release fragrance and neutralize air pollution.

Do you want clean air at home and avoid breathing problems? Follow these tips. You will see how when you return home you will notice the air much cleaner, fresh and pleasant.

My Natural Way of Life - How to Live a Healthy Way of Life

My day starts with a fruit salad made from at least 10 fruit varieties. I always try to eat fruits of the season. The external beauty of the fruits is not important to me. I usually buy almost the crooked unformed fruit. Of course, this is much more fun to buy from the weekly market in my place. As a child, I always climbed the fruit trees.

I always buy the fruit from a particular fruit seller, who is the age of my grandfather. He is very nice to me, always hugs me and is happy when I show up. I like him very much. He calls me my child. I always get a few extra fruits from him. When I am asked what gift I always wish for, I answer fruits and vegetables.

Of course, I cannot miss ginger, cinnamon, and red chili. I also consume other natural surprises which I always find here and there.

Every day I have my fruit salad in a different way. It looks like a work of art. Friends and relatives, who visit me, sometimes wait in anticipation of my breakfast. As a supplement for the first food of the day, a cup of tea is always must for me. I prefer a variety that I have drunk in Darjeeling for the first time. With regular tea, I now mix various other ingredients of my own. It has succeeded in reaching the same taste.

My Natural Way of Life

Tea is a master and helps me to overcome the winters with a special kind of warmth. A cup of tea also arouses the good humor in me. It gives me strength and positive energy. And in the warm days, it is hard to believe. The tea is refreshing, even in the heat, like a positive and successful energetic bomb.

In my everyday life during the daytime, I try to always have a home diet with green and leafy vegetables. Sometimes there is also freshwater fish on the menu.

Once I went to Nagpur in a very well-known wine region. My friends home have been waiting for me to bring good wines from there. But to their horror, I decided to get oranges and grapes for them.

Sometimes, I experience a kind of jealousness against people who live in a healthy way. I hate the ones who do all the unhealthy things in the world.

It is all the same to me. Whenever I am invited, I take part everywhere. It can even be a BBQ party. There I eat the eggplant that gets grilled, pineapple or it's what's on the griddle, but no meat.

The driving force of exercises has, of course, always been an inseparable element in my life. I do not want to be a preacher and say, "This is good or better, or not." I only claim what is good for me. I do not teach and I do not say what the others had to do.

It is not my job to discriminate against others who are not as healthy as I am. But when I am asked for my diet or conviction, I am ready to express my opinion. I get happy when I see that someone adopted my nutritional advice and that the result is positive.

My Natural Way of Life

My spontaneous recipe for food and life is sometimes spread and conveyed as "You Are What You Eat". The fact is that everyone needs to know what is better for themselves.

My concerns are not selfish. I have a tendency to cultivate the environment where I am. I move with countless plastic bags in the pockets to clear any litter by the sea and rather on the beach edge. Many times garbage men and women thank me for my concern for preserving a clean environment. I use and enjoy nature very much, but for me, it is very important to maintain it.

For years I've been riding the bicycle rather than the motorbike. Sometimes I drive up to 20 kilometers in bicycle every day. On the saddle, I get free to change my way and to enjoy the diversity of the surroundings. I can also in a way make my contribution to a healthy environment.

To be peaceful in the family and with friends is a great joy for me. My life gets enriched by being present not only in the good times but also in the bad times of others. I donate many times without any expectation.

I manage to observe the tiny, small things of life, like the ways of the ants. It pleases me and makes me happy to see the daily sunrise and sunset. Well, this is my way of living healthy.