King Kubera was the greediest man in the world. Hated and feared by many, he schemed to win the love of the beautiful goddess Parvati . . . but learned an important lesson when he invited her elephant-headed son Ganesha over for lunch one day . . .
So goes one of the many delightful tales in this decidedly grown-up book of traditional Indian stories, retold for the modern reader. Author Kamla Kapur is well known in her native India as a poet and playwright, and her connection to these age-old stories is the reverent yet individualistic one we might expect from someone whose introduction tells of her hometown, where naked, dreadlocked holy men speed about on motorbikes.
To collect these stories, Kapur relied on ancient sacred texts, modern scholarship, and chance encounters with interesting people who just happened to know a really good one about this time that Vishnu sank into the ocean, was incarnated as a pig, and had a really wonderful time.
Like myths around the world, these are teaching stories that offer both a window into a fascinating culture that has endured for thousands of years, and a code for living that can be applied to the modern world.