The Gujarati community has a long tradition of seafaring and a history of immigration to foreign lands. The mercantile culture resulted naturally from the Indian state’s proximity to the Arabian Sea. Although air travel had replaced sea travel by the time I was born, this innate restlessness I feel to explore new lands is something that is irrevocably embedded in me.
In Ancient India, the practice of Swayamvara or self-chosen groom was a significant ritual. A young woman of marriageable age, belonging to a noble family, had the right to choose her own spouse in the presence of her parents and family members. The intention of the ritual clearly signifies the ideals of women empowerment in a forgotten age and time.
She is a Beast is a collection of fairytales, but not the ones that we heard in our childhood. It is not a book of damsels in distress waiting for their knight in shining armour to rescue them. It is a book where women take the reins into their own hands. They are brave, witty and glorious. It’s a book where men are foolish to fall for the traps laid out by a woman and completely powerless at her hand.
“If you trace fairy tales throughout history, you can see how they directly reflect the society in which they were created. For instance, the Brothers Grimm would write multiple versions of the same tales, shifting them for various audiences. Writing these as lessons to children yielded one version for instance, and creating versions for a monarch yielded another.”
In the midst of a modern world that places men at the epicentre, histories tell stories of a time when we once followed the footsteps of women. Prior to the 20th century, matrilineality had a strong foothold in Kerala: a state on the southwestern coast of India.
Kali Ma is a true icon for the fourth wave of feminism that seizes the world today. A woman who stands true to herself – her identity, her sexuality – and doesn’t let the world tell her that she is not supposed to be the way she is. She is the embodiment of nature that cannot be controlled by man and later consumes him.