Hello bookworms, this is Mridula. Someone once told me that short stories can mess up with your head way more than the 600 page novel you waste your time reading. The Poison of Love is one such read.
K.R. Meera has touched many hearts with her stories. Translated from Malayalam, each story is known to leave a hole in your heart. Her notable works include The Hangwoman, The Gospel of the Yudas and The Poison of Love.
The cover is breathtaking and haunting at the same time. The cover and the illustrations give us a glimpse of the plot. The dots can be connected once we are knee deep into the plot. The jacket shows a saree clad woman, taking a dip in the ghats of Varanasi and offering a prayer to the Almighty. The interior (including the pages marking the beginning of a new chapter) is full of illustrations of ants, who play a significant role in the plot.
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. The story revolves around these characters.
Tulsi, a mother of two, sacrifices everything for the love of her life: Madhav. 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. What led to such a drastic transformation?
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.
Tulsi describes her love for Madhav as “a serpent that swallowed his own tail”. It twists around in circles, trying to consume itself. Madhav’s love, on the other hand, is like acid.
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.
The language is fairly simple making it a fast-paced read. But it successfully manages to leave you scarred.
The plot is unique. Destructive love hasn’t been talked about much, especially not in a vengeful, self-destructive, symbolistic way. The writing style makes the journey interesting and realistic. Characters are easy to relate to and each character has been gives a unique persona making it easy to decide the flow of the story. It’s about 100 pages long, therefore boredom is out of question. The use of metaphors acts as a dark humour throughout the read.
This is not a happy book. It’s sad and full of pain right from the start.
There’s no jazz in this book. It’s a simple plot with twists you can never predict. Writing style makes it what it is—a tale of love and retribution. There are only a few characters, hence not crowding the plot. The message that is conveyed loud and clear is that Love is not a fairy tale and it’s never going to be enough in a relationship. Love can break you in ways you never knew existed. Meera is strong yet twisted. She has given up so much for Madhav, it finally leaves her crazy and looking for revenge.
Who do I recommend this to
Well, if you are a lover of intense reads, and are strong enough to get your heart broken “slowly, and then all at once”.
Love is like milk. With the passage of time, it sours, splits and becomes poison.
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.
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