Sunday, April 12

Book Review: Ramayana – The Game of Life: The Shattered Dreams

This will be the first time I’ll be structuring my feedback of a book around the most apparent observation which remained unchanged from its start to finish page. This observation can be easily summarized in just two words - ‘Identifiable Mythology’. 

There have been way too many an adaptations, narrations, translations and evolutions of this great scripture in the past. What makes this book by author, Shubha Vilas, worth of spending your free time and money is the way it makes the epic scripture relatable in today’s time. This combined with the fact that narration remains accurate to the original composition, will keep an impatient and busy reader like me hooked to the book.

Whether it’s the introspection of character of Ravana, or the beautiful humanization of the dilemma and insecurity of king Dashratha, the book has it all. Like most of us, I have known Ramayana through the earlier text books and the Ramanand Sagar’s epic serial. This makes the knowledge imparted through this book all the more valuable. At least now I know the names of the all the characters of this epic drama. Tone of the book effortlessly shifts between humorous, thrilling and intriguing throughout. The way characters of Ravana, Dashratha and Rama have been portrayed gives the glimpse of promise on part of Shubha Vilas. 

Another feature of this book which differentiates it from other Ramayana narrations is the way learnings from different key incidents are presented in it. Author has made clever use of footers in this book. These footers have given an extra space or parallel track to author where he has been able to project his perception or thoughts without actually breaking the flow of the story. This feature makes one reminiscent of the way an elder or Panditji would have read out the chaupayi (verses) in original scripture and explained its meaning or learning associated with it with day to day life examples. 

This book opens with internal turmoil being faced by king Dashratha before arriving on the decision of coronation of Rama as new king. On one hand he wants Rama to take on the responsibilities of kingdom and is worried whether people will accept his decision during consensus. But when things turn out in his accordance, instead of being relieved or happy, he becomes insecure to the extent that he starts doubting his competency as a ruler. Similarly when queen Kekayi falls prey to Manthara’s persuasion, every range of human emotion is beautifully depicted by the author.  

Now coming to the flaws, there are grammatical mistakes, related to tenses and sentence structuring in the book at some places which easily stand out in this otherwise flawless narration.  Call me crazy, but I found myself re-reading the same sentence again with correct grammar to see the impact it creates. I am sure many of the readers will do the same. At some places, I also felt the need for a crispier packaging though the story made up for it.

All in all, I got a pleasant familiar feeling of well spent time after completing this book and I would recommend others to take it up.

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