Self-help books are not a new phenomenon by any means. They are found in aplenty. Books on love tips also fall under this genre. They give ‘relationship tips’ and carry a threat of becoming too preachy after a point of time.
But author Shubha Vilas’ Perfect Love: 5.5 Ways To A Lasting Relationship stands apart from the normal books in this genre for two reasons. It tells stories of interesting individuals instead of preaching anything. Secondly, it proves that ancient mythological stories carry messages and wisdom that can be useful even in 2018.
The book tells these six stories:
— The Wheel Of Fortune – About Nala and Damayanti
— The Golden Letter – About Krishna-Rukmini and Arjun-Subhadra
— A Silent Voice – About King Dushyanta and Shakuntala
— The Other Before Oneself – King Udayana and Vasavadatta
— The Woman Who Chose – About Satyavan and Savitri
— A Conditions About Conditions – Draupadi narrating the story of king Shantanu and her five husbands
Our mythological stories are vast. You feel you know a story by knowing its outline. However deep within, there are sub-plots and even little anecdotes that are not only interesting but also filled with positive messages. To see such minute detailing of incidents speaks a lot about the author’s command over mythology.
Perfect Love gives various timely messages in the book. The most important ones are the importance of proper communication (in the second story) and the dangers of being carried away by lust over love (in the fifth one). These are simple messages but they are needed to be told today when one can’t perceive simplest of things since the minds are so clouded by complications.
Vilas is known for keeping his writing simple yet rich in his Ramayana series. He has followed exactly the same method here. And like his other quality in his previous works, he has kept the narrative engaging and his description and presentation of scenes is akin to mainstream Hindi films.
The problem area here are some sentences that range from questionable to objectionable. They are:
‘Begetting a son is more meritorious than performing a sacrifice. But speaking the truth is more meritorious than begetting a hundred sons.’ – Now, how is begetting a son glorified in an unimaginable way? Does that mean daughters mean less? It can be argued that such beliefs were present in ancient times. But as the book is written for today’s youngsters, it is worrying to see such theories being preached, especially at a time when the country is struggling to achieve women empowerment.
‘A man who has a wife can be trusted more than a man who is a loner.’ – Now this is so shocking that it needs to description. It’s self-explanatory.
Apart from this, the explanation after each chapter could have been shorter.
Overall: Perfect Love is an interesting and insightful book that provides ways for lasting romantic relationships without being preachy.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Review by: Keyur Seta
Author: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Westland Publications
Price: Rs 350
Cover: A simple illustration of ancient lovers that goes with the subject