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Valentine's Day: The Rasa of Romance

The very first moment I beheld him, my heart was irrevocably gone....Jane Austen, Love and Friendship

Since time immemorial, humankind has known the feeling of love and the flavour of romance. The collection of romance literature in every language across all cultural communities testifies to the strength of this universal emotion. Western classics like Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations; Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice; Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre; Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights; E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View; Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina; F.Scott. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby; D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover; and Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra by the evergreen Shakespeare have become household names. And then, we can always turn homeward seeking the rasa (taste/flavour) of romance as we hail from India, where literature treasures love and romance in every nook and corner. The tale-within-a-tale-within-a-tale format of the great epics of Mahabharata and the Ramayana lodges many love legends. Then there are the charming love stories of Hindu gods and goddesses, and the well-known works like Kalidasa's Meghadutam and Abhijnanashakuntalam, and Surdasa's lyrical rendition of the legends of Radha, Krishna and the gopis of Vraj. Set in a land of great natural beauty, where the lord of love picks his victims with consummate ease, these stories celebrate the myriad aspects of the many-splendoured emotion called love. In the context of love and romance, speaking about the day of love which is celebrated annually on 14 February—Valentine’s Day—becomes imperative. Also called Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, it originated as a Western Christian liturgical feast day honouring one or more early saints named Valentinus, and is recognized as a significant cultural and commercial celebration in many places around the world. Particularly on or around this day, compelled by human nature as well as social trends, we feel an urge to indulge in some quality experience on the romantic fore. While candlelight dinners and movie dates with your loved ones are clichéd ways to observe this ritual, the company of a heart-warming romantic novel would always enrich your celebration of the day of love or make a meaningful gift for your loved one! So this Valentine’s Day, I strongly recommend these engaging reads: Tibet, White Crane, fiction, historical thriller, classic

White Crane, Lend me your Wings: A Tibetan Tale of Love and War

Set in the breathtakingly beautiful Nyarong Valley in Eastern Tibet, White Crane, Lend me your Wings is a historical fiction (published posthumously) that offers you a riveting tale of vengeance, warfare and love unfolded through the life story of two young boys and their family and friends. Read more at:   bose, netaji, love, romance

Emilie and Subhas: A True Love Story

This book sheds light on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s relationship with his wife, Emilie Schenkl, one of the least-known aspects of the leader’s life. Illustrated with 48 photographs from archives and family albums, this book is a unique record of the love story of Emilie and Subhas.

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My Red Butterfly: A Passionate Journey of Love Emotions & Compassion

My Red Butterfly, a tale of unparalleled romance, is the enchanting story of an innocent boy, Rohit, struck by cupid when barely 16, with aspirations to be a doctor and win his love. This love story is one to relive and remember—from an era when love was not alloyed with materialism and practicalities, and relationships were not tortuous but straight and heartfelt. Read more at:

Parineeta, the Betrothedparineeta, vidya balan, translation, classic, bangla

Originally composed in Bengali by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Parineeta, the Betrothed, is the love story of Shekharnath and Lalita, set in early twentieth-century Bengal. With the narrative revolving mainly around the bantering relationship between the two, twist is added to the plot with the arrival of Girin, an eligible bachelor who is attracted to Lalita. Come, delve into this classic romance in English, translated by Niyogi Books.

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classic, Indian literature, TranslationDurgeshnandini

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s first Bengali novel, Durgeshnandini, which revolutionised Bengali prose writing, is a layered tale of romance between a young Rajput commander of the Mughal army and the daughter of a minor ruler, and a charming Pathan princess who also falls in love with the male protagonist. Set in the sixteenth century during the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar, the novel indirectly questions the prevailing social norms of the time that bar love across different castes and religions. Translated into English by Niyogi books, this narrative offers an engaging reading experience. Read more at:   For more details check:
Arunima Ghosh | 14-Feb-2018