Raasleela - The dance of Life Enveloped in Love
Table of Contents
Raasleela is an enchanting novel that weaves the intricacies of love, sacrifice, and the timeless allure of Indian classical dance.
Set against the vibrant backdrop of Hyderabad and New York, this literary odyssey delves into the depths of Gopika’s heart as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery and redemption.
With vivid descriptions of spellbinding dance sequences and a narrative that traverses time, Raasleela captivates readers with its celebration of Bharatanatyam, the mesmerizing art form that breathes life into Gopika’s existence.
The novel showcases the intricate beauty of classical Indian dance, elevating the emotions and desires that shape Gopika’s destiny.
As she navigates the complexities of her relationship with Vamsi, their love and commitment are tested by the sacrifices they must make.
The novel explores the depth of their connection and the power of reconciliation, as Gopika seeks to reclaim her passion for dance and rekindle the flame that once burned bright between them.
What was Raasleela all about
Raasleela by author Brijesh Tangi was a 95+ pages long story that encapsulated the love between Gopika and Vamsi. A standalone, it weaved love and ambitions in the tapestry of life, while bringing to life the flavor of the classical Bharatnatyam dance, rich in passion.
The debut was a realistic romance that showed me how life sometimes happened and even the most intense and perfect love story did not survive the tests of time.
Gopika and Vamsi loved each other, started when he saw her dance on stage for the first times, and soon it was her dedication to this dance that was a spoke in their relationship.
All classical dance forms had its embodiment in the tales of the Gods and Goddesses in India, and it was this dance form that transcended the human consciousness and revealed the eternal state.
Trigger Warnings: none.
What compelled me to read the book in one sitting was my longing to know what would become of the characters. Everything in me wanted to see what trials of life the author would put his characters through.
I didn’t remember ever reading a love story on the backdrop of classical dance, so I found the story in Raasleela refreshing without the dance forms being too overwhelming.
It maintained a balance in its pages.
I liked the characters, but I was never immersed in their lives. Because that needed nuances to be shown in the lines and also in between the lines. And at 90+ pages, I didn’t think the author had enough time to delve deep into it.
The characters were etched lovingly, but they were not fully fleshed where I got to know them well or feel the intensity of feelings.
With only two main characters in love, it was easy to follow their love story.
The Intricacies of Raasleela
The plot line was quite realistic, and the flow of life and love was identifiable. I felt I too had gone through something like that.
I liked seeing life through the eyes of these characters, and it was a different kind of HEA. Life played them well in the subplots, and it was equally true both learned to play the cards life threw at them, even when their love was infinite and forever. I felt the author stayed true to the basic nature of his characters and understood them intimately.
The story was deep but not so deep that it became philosophical. It showed life in its honesty. In this, the author kept to the boundaries set by the characters while bringing them to life.
As a closet romantic who never had a successful love story, I wanted the formulaic ending, but Mr. Tangi stuck to his guns and wrote the ideal ending, which should be the way it was.
At the size of novella, the atmosphere was not maintained in the whole book, though the grandeur of dance was. To give me a full story, it was not possible to give me a detailed worldbuilding. So, I didn’t mind it at all.
I could read it in one go, so a steady pace was the nature of Raasleela. And, frankly speaking, this book didn’t need the fast pace of a thriller. It needed the pauses more, if at all.
The style of writing - The Prose
I liked the story, but quite a formal way of writing where the names of the characters were reinforced more than needed, especially when the scene had only one of the characters. Just felt I didn’t need the constant reminder in every line whose part was playing.
Being the debut, Raasleela was an earnest attempt. But it needed depth and nuance, just telling me what she felt was not enough. I needed to feel it in the air, in her body language, in her expressions. Emotions were the most difficult to write, but love was an emotion, and it demanded its embedding into the space between the characters, which was missing here.
I couldn’t feel what the characters felt, didn’t cry or laugh with them, read the book like a tale. That immersion into their lives was missing.
It was a good book, just not compelling, with a voice that demanded I read it. This book was a gentle breeze in between my thrillers.
How Raasleela made me feel
My brain said – I liked the book. Reading about their love story left me with a vague feeling of bittersweet emotion. I felt the warmth of love with the coldness of ambition, the joy of meeting the lover with the conviction of doing the right thing. There were no villains in the book, just life showing how many different kinds of love there could be in this world.
Do I recommend this book, Raasleela?
If you do manage to get your hands on this book, read it. It is sweet and gentle while showing you the richness of Indian culture, still continuing in modern times.
My niece learns Bharatnatyam, and I am filled with a strange sense of awe at the idea of being connected to the cultures of the past when she shows me her mudras (dance gestures).
We like to believe we are the modern young’uns, but we are actually the sum total of the eras gone before us. So I believe.
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I downloaded the digital version of the book from an online retail, and this is my journey down its pages, straight from the heart. STRICTLY HONEST and UNBIASED.
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