Told in vivid and at times painful detail, the story compels the reader to the inevitable with analysis, history, asides, and a firm sense of place. Debajani brings to life people and a time now gilded in memory, but once real, normal, messy, moral, and unmistakably familiar.
The story in its manuscript form had been read by some 100 independent and educated Indian women across the world, critiqued by a leading literary society in England and edited by a top editorial agency in India. As per the authoress, she had collected thoughts of many such women and sent a summary to PM Modi’s PMO site for eradication of rape and then the famous “Souchalay” program which was one of the suggestions, was initiated in India.
Since its release “The Curse of Damini” has secured position in the bestsellers list in Amazon India many times in the Thriller category.
The world seemed not enough for free spirited Renuka, when she married the highly educated Shashank hailing from the mightiest Zamindars of Bengal. However, soon her life turned upside down when a neighbor revealed her of their sinister past.
It’s a mysterious supernatural curse cast on their family almost a century back. Generation by generation, Damini’s enraged curse had passed on, declining their family clan from hundreds to a handful few. Who would be Damini’s next victim? And why innocent lives are at a stake for a crime committed by an ancestor a hundred years back? Renuka would not settle until she finds an answer and in her quest she struggles to eradicate all the evils that come in her way. Would she ever win a battle against an unseen enemy? Would the wrong done to Damini be ever avenged?
Set against the nostalgic era of 1940s, the story narrates the arduous journey of Renuka Pal, the protagonist, from a rash teen age freedom fighter to the seasoned writer of the 21st century India. In this thrilling saga of death, betrayal and power plays the narrative would cover a large chunk of twentieth century history. The passing of time, historical events and the changing country is so well-woven to the story that one would hardly differentiate between fact and fiction.
Reasons To Read “The Curse of Damini”
The story that spans seven decades of Renuka’s life focuses on the struggle of the women, their fight for existence and the search for identity.
There is a strong voice of protest against the cruelties towards women.
The authoress with a missionary zeal proves financial independence not only gives an identity to a lady but the power to fight back against the male dominated society .
Some of the social issues that is covered in the novel:
- Girl Child
- Famine & Malnutrition
- Family Planning/Birth Control Initiative
- Live-in Relationship
The story moves around the main female character Renuka from year 1945 when she is 15 years old till the current time. Novel has 34 characters and a long list of characters that Renuka comes across in her life. The major sections of the novels constitute
1. Renuka’s Childhood
2. Marriage to the Roy Chowdhury scion
3. The mysterious Damini and Past of Roy Chowdhurys
4. Life in Calcutta in year 1948
5. A short Trip to Europe
6. Back in India – Curse Returns
7. Renuka’s Faceoff with Mandira
8. Renuka’s Rise to Fame
9. Friends Reunited
Real people and events
The novel is inspired by many real people and historical events. The story has many incidents taken from the life of her grandparents that includes the pre-independent era, her grandfather’s education in B.H.U., foreign travel, training & working as a pioneer hydro-electric engineer of early independent India and key role play in construction of many dams constructed in India after independence. The partition and its effect on women, famine, malnutrition, and the trade are information collected by the authoress by her grandparents, numerous old ladies of Odisha & Bengal and many old newspaper cuttings available on internet and memoirs written by eminent people of that era.
Excerpts from the book
An excerpt from the novel reads:
“Who created this ritual?’ she screamed in anger, her voice reaching the sky and echoing around. ‘Who created this tradition where a man must marry on the seventh day after his wife dies but a wife must shave her head wearing only whites for the rest of her life if she loses her husband? Who created this rule? And why has no one opposed this ever? Answer me. When the Almighty does not discriminate between man and woman when allocating light, air, water, and all natural resources, who are you to do so?”