18 October, 2019

The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni - [Book Review]

Book Details :

Title: The Palace of Illusions
Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Genre: Mythology, Historical Fiction
Print Length: 388 pages
Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (February 6, 2009)
Publication Date: February 10, 2009
Sold by: Random House LLC
Source: A copy from local Library




Blurb:

A reimagining of the world-famous Indian epic, the Mahabharat—told from the point of view of an amazing woman.

Relevant to today’s war-torn world, The Palace of Illusions takes us back to a time that is half history, half myth, and wholly magical. Narrated by Panchaali, the wife of the legendary Pandavas brothers in the Mahabharat, the novel gives us a new interpretation of this ancient tale.

The novel traces the princess Panchaali's life, beginning with her birth in fire and following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father’s kingdom.

Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war involving all the important kings of India. Meanwhile, we never lose sight of her strategic duels with her mother-in-law, her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna, or her secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husbands' most dangerous enemy. 

Panchaali is a fiery female redefining for us a world of warriors, gods, and the ever-manipulating hands of fate.

Purchase Link:

My Review:

It's really tough to write a mythology/ historical fiction without changing the focus of the epic. Mahabharata is an epic which most of the Indians know from childhood through different stories. Like everyone else, I too listened to all these stories and I am amazed that the author didn't deviate from the actual story and covered all important events. 

This novel is written from the perspective of Drupadi, the wife of Pandavas. The author covered some less known facts which show the personality of Drupadi to the readers - her childhood, her relationship with his brother Dhri and Krishna, her desire for Karna , her feelings about Kunti , her husbands etc., 

Chitra's story telling skills and her narration are astounding. The way she makes her readers learn about the characters is amazing. The character building is exemplary. 

This book made me remember all those multiple stories about each character in Mahabharat once again. 

A few things that didn't strike a chord to me?

There is too much mention of Karna and desire of Drupadi over him and her concern. I don't think it is real but just fiction as no other Mahabharata mentions the relationship between Karna and Druapadi. So, eventhough narration is so interesting and believable , I couldn't accept these episodes.

The final part or the last few pages are very important for the story where Panchali clarifies all her doubts from Krishna, but this episode felt like a lot of dragging and made it boring for some time.

Other than the above mentioned points, this book is the best re-telling of Mahabharata. I appreciate the author as she might have done a lot of research on this epic before writing this book.

My Rating: 5/5

I recommend this to people who love to know more about Draupadi and her role in the Kurukshetra. 

About the Author:

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is the award-winning author of 18 books. Her themes include the Indian experience, contemporary America, women, immigration, history, myth, and the joys and challenges of living in a multicultural world. Her work has been published in over 100 magazines and anthologies and translated into 29 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew, Hindi and Japanese. She has won numerous awards, including an American
Book Award and the internation Premio Scanno Prize. Divakaruni also writes for children and young adults.

Two of her books, The Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart, have been made into movies. Her novels One Amazing Thing and Palace of Illusions have been optioned. Her collection of stories, Arranged Marriage has been made into a play.

She was born in India and came to the United States to continue her education, receiving a Master’s degree from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

She lives in Houston with her husband Murthy and has two sons, Anand and Abhay (whose names she has used in her children’s novels).



Until next time,

16 October, 2019

Will this truck fit? #wordlesswednesday

Do you think, this car can go through the tunnel?

It did, anyways. This pic was taken at Custer National park in South Dakota. This road is called Needles highway.


Until next time,

Linking this post to #wordlesswednesday hosted by Natasha and Esha.


10 October, 2019

09 October, 2019

My Gratitude List for September 2019 #GratitudeCircle

I am grateful to the September month. I had good time to relax, attend some Poojas, celebrate the birthday of a family member and could organize our Annual recital. I cannot ask for more happiness.




Here is my Gratitude List for September :

1. Annual Recital

We did our first Kuchipudi Annual Recital in Colorado Springs. With the grace of God and help of family members and a few close friends, the event went fine. There were technical problems, but overall it was good. 

I have never dreamed of becoming a dance teacher. So, me performing with my students is more than what I wished for. I am thankful to God that he has written "dance teaching" in my destiny. 




2. Me time

I had to take a break from work due to some reasons. I used this month to enjoy my free time. Watched many Netflix shows after a long time, painted to some extent, got good books from library, attended some poojas etc.,

Actually, I was overwhelmed with what to do in free time. Enjoyed drawing zentangles the most. Wanted to try Paintings on Canvas in October on Halloween theme. 




I have joined all Netflix groups in Facebook and consolidated a big list of best thrillers to watch and enjoy :-) 
Yes, I am serious :p
I know for sure that I won't get free time again when I join back work. 

After our annual recital on September 1st, I gave one week off to dance classes and just relaxed that one weekend. Enjoyed some afternoon nap too after a long time. Got some time to blog and read too. 

3. Quality time with kids

Since I took break from work, I am back into the chores of picking up and dropping kids to and from school, extra curricular activities etc., I am thankful that I got more time to help kids with their homework, teach them academics and read books with them. 

I couldn't get enough time to paint or do crafts with them though. Kids and myself also spent some time gardening. 

4. Birthday celebration

We celebrated my husband's birthday at home and went out for dinner. Kids are now good to eat outside. My younger one is also picking up something to eat outside, so I am thankful for those dinners when I need not cook anything.

Birthdays are not like earlier with kids. We are not celebrating in the midnight and sleeping by 9.30 PM itself. In the middle of soccer classes, telugu manabadi classes, we fit sometime for cake cutting even on weekends. Days go busy, you know.. Anyways, we blew some balloons and have put a banner to surprise their dad.

5. Pooja gatherings

I am not a spiritual person, but always believed in that Supreme power of God that surrounds and protects me and my family. I got the opportunity to attend some Pooja gatherings at other people's houses and chant the Lalitha Sahasranamam. I am so thankful to God that I am introduced to these peaceful praying sessions. 

I don't know if this chanting is changing something inside me, But I feel satisfied of my life and it keeps me happy.

So, that was about my Super September. How was yours?

Do let me know in comments.

Until next time,







Linking this post to #GratitudeCircle hosted by Vidya Sury. 

05 October, 2019

It's not the Fall without.... #WordsMatter

I never get tired of writing about this season. So, I use this opportunity to write a post about this time of the year by participating in the #WordsMatter Blog hop.

The prompt for today's post - It's not that time of the year without....




It's not that time of the year (the Fall) without...

1. Fall colors

I saw the bright yellows, Oranges, and red leaves for the first time in Vermont state when we went to the fall foliage trip.

This time of the year is to see the colors. Many thinks, leaves change color in the fall season. But, the fact is that leaves show their true color which is red. The green color that we see is because they could produce chlorophyll in Summer and Spring. Since they cannot produce enough chlorophyll in Fall due to the lack of Sunlight, the original color of the leaf stays. 

I remember our fall scenic drives and the Aspen trip in this season.




2. Spooky decors and Halloween costumes

It's fun to see the spooky decorations outside the houses here during Halloween. Check this post for some Halloween decor.

Pumpkin carvings, Jack-o-lanterns, scarecrows, witches, bats, spider webs and other spooky decors adorn houses and offices. It's not this time of the year without Children trick or treating in Halloween costumes.




3.  Warm Mornings and Cold evenings

While the temperatures stay warm in the mornings, the evenings start becoming cold. In many ways, the fall season brings changes. 

The Sun sets early in the Fall. Cold winds and foggy weather start which doesn't allow our little plants to grow. This season might bring some early snow too and our gardening plans will vanish soon. I am thinking of growing some plants indoor like methi, coriander, mint, and Tulasi.




4. New Flavors

We have some new flavors coming in this season like pumpkin , maple, hazelnut, apple, salted caramel etc., 

Warm soups are good in the coming cold season. Hot chocolates will be available everywhere. Pumpkin spice latte is the popular one though. 



I feel, the fall is about all these things. It's a beautiful time of the year where nature gives us hope that change can be good.

What do you like about this time of the year?

Until next time,





I received this tag from my blogger friend Lata Sunil at (Kaapitimes.wordpress.com). It’s my pleasure to pass on this tag to Kala Ravi who blogs at http://www.relaxnrave.com/

There are 38 of us on this Blog Hop and it will be spread over 3 days – 4, 5, 6 October  2019. Do follow the #WordsMatter Blog Hop and prepare to be surprised! 




03 October, 2019

A Calm Evening #wordlesswednesday





Linking this post to #wordlesswednesday hosted by Natasha and Esha.


26 September, 2019

Thus, the fall season starts

Today is the third day of fall season. The color change hasn't begun yet. Will be happy to share fall colors in the coming days 🙂



Until next time,







Linking this post to #ThursdayTreeLove blog hop hosted by Parul.


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