My legs were paining severely. I could not get up from the bed. A dense cloud of fatigue has enveloped me. Why was I feeling so tired? I tried to recall my yesterday routine. What had I done that was causing me so much fatigue?
Exercising is the only time I have in my busy schedule to listen to audio books. The rest of the day is packed with Sadhanas, business work, work related phone calls and charity. After listening to the remaining ten minutes of ‘The Miracle of Mindfulness’ by Thich Nhat Hanh, I started a new audio book ‘Aavarana’ by S. L. Bhyrappa. It was one of the books recommended by Swamiji. I was walking while I was listening. I tempted one extra round so that I could listen to it furthermore. I was so engrossed listening this unique love story that I lost the count of my walking rounds. What a charm of a romantic novel! The books recommended by Swamiji are too boring, but they are gems of wisdom. Therefore, I tried my best to read them slowly and gradually. Even after reading just one page, I felt that I was done for the day. Nevertheless, this novel was just unputdownable. The narration was mesmerising and the narrator was telling the story in a very gripping way speaking clearly, appropriately emphasising the words by changing the tone and volume of her voice to match the emotion of the content. This romantic novel was a surprise for me! Earlier I was in the habit of reading romantic novels but from the past decade, I have been focusing more on the books related to yoga, spirituality, mythology, philosophy and business. All those years, I did not find the time to read about romance and my priorities in life changed. Or maybe it was an age factor! Now, I am an old fellow.
After scorching heat when the first rains falls on the soil, the particular earthy sweet smell fills the whole environment. Similarly, after reading and listening to all those dull and uninteresting books for quite a long time, this love story was like a distinctive scent in the air, making me fresh and pleasant. The torrents began to fall from the clouds drenching me in love and romance!
I am sharing the list of my favourite romantic novels and prose here.
1. Ramayana by Maharishi Valmiki (It is an epic love story. It is the most ancient true love story between Lord Ram and Ma Sita. It was only the affection of Lord Ram for Her that He went through all those hardships- relentlessly searched Her in the forests, built a bridge of stones on the ocean and defeated the invincible Ravana, the king of Lanka. If He had married someone else this love story would not have happened. Therefore, it is a LOVE STORY more than a journey of virtue to annihilate vices. I have read its versions and adaptations like Adhyatma Ramayana, Ramcharitmanas by Tuilsidas, Ramayana by R. K. Narayana, Abhyudaya by Narendra Kohli, Ramayana: The Game of Life by Shubha Vilas, Ramayana by C. Rajgopalchari, The Book of Ram by Devdutt Pattanaik Valmiki’s Ramayana – Amar Chitra Katha and many more)
2. Saheb Bibi aur Golam by Bimal Mitra (A lonely wife of a zamidar starts to drink alcohol to seek her husband’s love, time and company)
3. Pavilion of Woman by Pearl S Buck (A forty-year-old woman withdraws from her life as wife in the physical sense and searches for a concubine for her husband even after the opposition from her husband.)
4. Guide by R. K. Narayana (A guide who was unsuccessful in love with a reputed dancer searches for divine love by keeping fast to protect local people from calamity.)
5. The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (A wife of five men falls in love with the sixth. Yes, I am talking about Draupadi!)
6. Devdas by Saratchandra Chattopadhyay (A heartbroken lad pierced the forehead of his beloved with a sharp object to leave a permanent mark of their love as she was going to marry an elderly widower.)
7. Gunahon ka Devta by Dharmaveer Bharti (A childhood love story that cannot blossom into marriage because of their non-expressive love and romance.)
8. Mrignayani by Vrindavan Lal Verma (It is a love story of Man Singh Tomar, a married king and a brave gujjar girl for whom he constructed Gujjari Mahal. A romantic novel set up in the historical background of Gwalior.)
9. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Ray (It is a family drama including an offbeat story of incestuous sex between fraternal twins and the love story of their mother.)
10. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lehri (A story of two brothers who hold different political views, one joins naxalite movement and was killed by police and another went to America to live a peaceful life. On knowing about his brother’s death, he returned to India to soothe his shattered family. He offered to marry his brother’s love who was carrying his brother’s baby. He tried to help her in settling in America whereas she did not love him and was haunted by her past memories.)
11. Umrao Jaan Ada by Mirza Hadi Ruswa (A strange twist of fate in the life of a tawaif who could have been a wife of a wealthy and handsome Nawab whom she loved intensely. However, unfortunately, another girl child in the same prison was mistaken as her and now that girl child after growing up enjoys the status of Nawab’s wife.)
12. Kumarasambhavam by Kalidas (Most of you will consider Meghaduta (in which lover sends the message to his beloved through clouds) as a most romantic novel by Kalidas but I consider Kumarasambhavam as it about love and romance between Lord Shiva and Mother Paravati. It also explains about the birth of Kumara (Kartikeya). Ma Paravati cursed the author for writing obscene descriptions of her conjugal life. It is a postulate that this curse still persists and can cause havoc in the love life of anyone who reads it.)
13. Gora by Rabindranath Tagore (It is an unparallel love story of two pairs of lovers. Along with romance, it includes nationalism, religion, philosophy and feminism. It is a powerful book dripping with ideas.)
14. Gita Govinda by Jayadeva (It narrates the simple love of Radha and Krishna depicting deep ethos of devotion of individual soul and its yearning for God realization and finally it’s merging with the Supreme Soul. The religious fervour is combined with eroticism to overcome lusty desires.)
15. Lajja by Taslima Nasreen (This novel is about the minority community Hindus in Bangladesh during the demolition of Babri Masjid in India. It is a story of a Hindu wife who loves her husband and accepts her celibacy after the people of different religion mutilated her husband’s genitals.)
16. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (The longest novel with detailed description set in post-independence India in which a young woman is trying to find a suitable boy to marry.)
17. Nal Damyanti, Amar Chitra Katha (I read it when I was quite young, but this love story left a permanent mark on my mind. It is about Damayanti, a beautiful woman and her husband Nal, the king of Vidarbh who lost everything in gambling. In the forest, he tried to catch birds with his cloth, but birds flew away with it. Damayanti tore her garment in half and gave it to him to cover his naked body.)
18. Gently Falls the Bakula by Sudha Murty (It is a heart touching story about how two people from different backgrounds fall in love with each other, get married and the events that shake their life.)
19. Aavarana by S. L. Bhyrappa (A rebellious and free-spirited young woman marries a Muslim who was not progressive and liberal as she thought. He forces her to follow Islam and she sets to uncover India’s history about religion and its rigidity.)
20. Rain by W. Somerset Maugham (It is a long story or a short novella. The list of love stories cannot be completed without including it, as it is one of the best works of Samersaut Maugham. On a ship, a missionary who tries to reform a prostitute, falls in love with her and commits suicide.)
Dear readers, which is your favorite romantic novel, prose or story?
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