My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Tripathi has done it once again- restructured ancient mythology to suit modern preferences- making history so much more colourful and sensible!
The first in the Ram Chandra series, it perceptibly has Amish’s magical storytelling. Indians undeniably grow up listening to stories from ancient epics like the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Some read the original version while others read it year after year. In fact, there are times when Hindus dedicate an entire month to read the Ramayana (that concluded on August 16, this year, according to Malayalam calendar). Being a Malayali, I keenly observed my grandmother reading it bit by bit every single day and finally flipping through the last 5-8 pages today. It is said that reciting Ramayana during this month leads to blessings being showered upon the next seven generations by the almighty.
Keeping the myths aside, I did think of it from a new angle. It is probably said so because of the wisdom shared in it that echoes with present situations as well.
But not all have the patience to muster up the courage to read mythology. Some find it boring and too unrealistic, thanks to the televised programmes on TV that most Indians grew up watching. But the less genuine looking bows and arrows in those programmes apart, there is so much that Amish shows the reader. He humanizes the so-called “Gods” and then lets the reader decide why they were placed on such pedestals in the first place.
Amish breathes life into Ram, Sita, Lakshman and the other characters and the kingdom of Ayodhya, Mithila and Lanka. Readers would be captured by the sheer brilliance of architecture and intelligence that took place while planning cities of olden-days.
The way Amish merges the past and present together is indeed a craft. Critics may say that he has distorted history by way of bringing instances of Mahabharata in Ramayana in the part where he wrote about Sita Swayamvar. But it must be kept in mind that he never claimed it to be the real version.
It remains an essential read for the dose of philosophy tinged with humour, suspense and a warm feeling that leaves the reader wanting for more. This surely seems to be another feather in Amish’s hat with the previous ones sitting proudly, added thanks to his Shiva Trilogy.
What caught this reviewer off guard was his art of merging current issues into his story as well as providing very clear-headed solutions to them, providing food for thought to a person who would not in his living hours have got a moment off to think about “dharma” or “karma”. But that is what he always does- he makes one think, deeply. Glimpses of the Nirbhaya gangrape case flashes into the mind of the reader during an instance in the story. His weaving of the modern into the ancient is worth appreciation. Coming to that, he makes the ancient look not so ancient anymore.
His writing seems to be his way of standing up against inequality and gender bias. Cheers to Amish for presenting a mythological epic with copious doses of present issues sprinkled, often challenging, faced by the society in the 21st century.
This is the first in the Ram Chandra Series and the disappointment when reading "To be continued..." is regretted.
To be continued... ;)
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