“The more you want to go the other way, the path that you were destined for is the one you will have to follow.” ~~ Kavita Kane (Book: Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen)
The title intrigued me and I decided to read the retelling.
Let’s find out more about ‘Karna’s Wife’….
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mythology.
Main Characters: Uruvi.
‘Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen by Kavita Kane’ ~~ Synopsis:
Uruvi, the Princess of Pukeya, falls head over heels in love with the defiant archer, Karna, who shows up in the archery tournament competition held among the cousins.
Karna challenges and defeats Arjuna — dubbed as the best archer; in process shocking and making people present at the tournament angry with his display.
For defying the convention, Arjuna’s brothers insult Karna for being born a sutaputra, hence having no right to behave like a warrior.
Duryodhana, the Kauravas prince, turns out to be the only person who stands up for Karna. Duryodhana not just makes Karna the King of Ang,a but also offers his friendship to the outcast warrior.
For days after the tournament, Uruvi tries to forget about the outcast warrior as she’s a princess and he’s a sutaputra and she knows their love story probably would never happen.
Also, the man of her dreams probably has no idea who she is, but there’s no reasoning with her heart.
When Uruvi’s father decides to arrange her swayamwara, she sees it as an opportunity to marry the man she loves. But how to break this news to her parents, who would not want her to marry someone like Karna.
Uruvi kept rejecting prospects, so when she allows the swayamwara to be held, it makes her mother happy. Uruvi’s mother and her godmother Kunti believes, the princess is a good match for Arjuna.
If only Uruvi thought the same….
Uruvi has other plans. She wants her father to invite Karna for the ceremony and for that to happen, she’s ready to reveal her secret.
Her declaration of love for the King of Anga shocks her parents, but in the end her father reluctantly agrees to her wishes. Uruvi’s mother worries about her only daughter’s future.
The day of swayamwara arrives and to everyone, prince and king’s shock, including Karna, Uruvi chooses Karna as her husband.
Uproar breaks out in the protest of Uruvi’s choice of husband, but Krishna intervenes and manages to calm down the heated atmosphere.
In her new home and environment, Uruvi finds many challenges. She finds love as in time she becomes Karna’s favorite wife. But:
Uruvi isn’t sure about her equation with his first wife, Vrushali, who surely doesn’t like the princess.
Yet Vrushali never expresses her discontent with the new situation in her married life and accepts Uruvi in silence.
Other members of Karna’s house don’t know if they should trust Uruvi and how much. The most vocal one against Uruvi is Karna’s younger brother Shona. Karna’s parents seem fine with Uruvi as their son is happy with her.
Uruvi finally finds out what it meant to be an outcast’s queen when people who once she called friends starts avoiding her or aiming vicious insults in her direction.
The new changes do bother Uruvi, but she adapts in a short while, consoling herself that she, at least, unlike other princesses, married the man she loves.
The most challenging aspect of marrying Karna turns out to be his absolute loyalty to Duryodhana. She doesn’t approve of their friendship and wants Karna to switch sides.
As it turns out Karna is aware of all the flaws his friend has and still is not ready to end the doomed friendship. He’s ready to die for his friend and Uruvi fears that day is not far.
But in time Uruvi makes peace with her new life and her husband’s choices. That peace and her love face a test when Karna plays a role in the disgrace of Draupadi in the court.
All of a sudden Uruvi begins to wonder how to continue loving a man who disrespected a helpless woman to reclaim his hurt pride.
Above all, will she ever be able to forgive him for his transgression?
I enjoyed reading retelling of the Mahabharata from Karna’s wife’s perspective.
Everyone has their perspectives, even the ones on the wrong side, fighting a losing battle.
What I enjoyed reading the most is: how Uruvi chides Kunti for never accepting Karna as her son and that one omission leading to his death and possibly the destructive war between the cousins.
Also, I have always wondered whether to like or dislike Karna’s character.
The trouble is: Karna is a good guy on the wrong side. He’s a character with a death wish, as he refused to part ways with a man hell bent on destroying everything and everyone for satisfying his petty ego.
Staying loyal to a friend is all good and fine. But:
Good and loyal friends are those who are not afraid of pointing out their friends’ flaws.
Lessons You Learn From Karna:
1: Be a loyal friend.
2: Don’t be such a loyal friend that you won’t see your friend’s flaws or destructive mistakes that’d destroy your friend and you just by association.
Just because your friend is heading in the wrong direction does not mean you have to accompany him/her.
Warn your friend of the dangers ahead and if they listen to you, great, if not then stay away. Sometimes parting ways with someone who refuses to mend their ways is better than staying with them.
“A friend is one who advises the other when he goes wrong.” ~~ Kavita Kane (Book: Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen)
3: The best lesson: Don’t allow other people’s opinion of you to change you or what you desire for yourself from life. For example: Dronacharya, then a renowned teacher of warriors, refused to teach Karna based on his social status. But:
Karna didn’t lose his desire to become a warrior. The rejection only fueled his desire to become one of the best.
He found himself a better mentor in Parashurama, who’s a mentor to both Dronacharya and Bhishma.
If you love mythology, this one is worth reading, makes you think about characters in the epic in a different light.
Hit or Miss: Hit.
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