My last read was Shikhandi by Devdutt Pattanaik and hence continuing with the mythological reads, when the chance of reviewing Ramayana came through I just couldn’t wait to get started. Very few people can really make a known tale interesting to read. Almost every author has his own take. Which is right? Which is more factual? These questions will always plague you if you have read a few versions of the same, so it was a conscious decision to keep the mind free from bias when I began this book.
A special note to the author for the lovely thought of writing a couple of lines in the book. It made me feel wonderful every time I picked the book up to read. The experience felt personal and I understood just how much this book meant to the author for her to have taken time out to sign every book that went out for review, explaining her reasons for penning it. Kudos Shubha, the personalized effort is much appreciated.
The author, Shubha Vilas’s Ramayana is a series of six books, and ‘Rise Of The Sun Prince‘ is the first book of them. The cover of the book looks magical and gives you a visual of the much loved epic we have all grown up to. The book begins at the beginning where Valmiki muni asks his guru Narada muni to reveal what makes a true hero. What defines a true hero? Is he powerful yet vulnerable? Is he one without any flaws or blemish> is he Godly? These are a few questions that plague Valmiki before he embarks upon the task to write down the tale of the great hero, Ramayana was born.
Ramayana is not just about Rama but it is about King Dasharatha, his wives and his desire for a male heir. Ramayana is about the great queens Kaushalya, Keikeyi and Sumitra, the plotting Manthara and the valiant sons of Dasharatha, Bharat and Lakshman. Ramayana is also a tale of how Lord Ram, despite being a God himself was susceptible to human flaws. In the first installment, the author has featured the ‘Bala Kanda‘.
What I absolutely loved about this book were the footnotes that had so much to tell you. You were not just reading a known childhood tale, you were reading and learning along the way and that is what truly made the reading experience totally wonderful! One of the things which I left took away from the book was that the intense equation between Rama and Sita has been reduced to fickle infatuation. That Rama and Sita were the ideal couple because of the love their shared, that their love is an ideal for the mankind seems rather trivialized. While I would love to read more of the subsequent parts, I think it is stretching the book way too far, this specially when there are so many other books in the same subject genre that are available. More so because this is a popular epic retold hence to sustain the interest among the readers will be a tough task.
All said, this book has been a truly interesting read. If you love reading then this is a must read.