‘Blessed‘ by author Deepa Agarwal comes as a breath of fresh air. It is a story that will appeal to modern readers – a fictional tale with some magic. It is a fast-paced read where the underdog emerges victorious!
The title ‘Blessed‘ primes the reader’s thoughts to someone with a gift or special power which is the central theme running through the story.
The story unfolds in a poor district, Kote, where girls are forbidden to read or write. The once prosperous kingdom was overthrown by the evil, neighbouring Agyanees. The drama unfolds with the search for a Blessed girl child who will recite the ancient hymns and close the shield of protection. This will restore the kingdom to its previous glory. Is the ‘so called blessing’ really a blessing? Or is it an unwanted burden in the guise of a blessing?
The plot takes many twists and turns which include a jealous brother, traitors, kidnappings, form changing characters and priests with super powers. Despite all the dynamic happenings, what holds appeal is the simplicity of the people, the eventual victory of good over evil and the new world order which makes it possible for girls to receive an education. The book is an admonition to backward cultures which treat women as secondary citizens and do not value education. The illogical nature of this behaviour and need for change comes through in spades.
Would a slightly longer book with more detail be preferable? Definitely! Would more depth to certain characters be appreciated? Surely! Would a better background have elevated the story? Probably! But all these minor aspects fly right out of the window when we find ourselves rooting for the innocent child protagonist, and that is indeed the strength of this novel.