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Book Review: Kartikeya by Anuja Chandramouli

Being born a Bengali, Lord Kartikeya (or as we Bongs like to call him – Kartik thakur) is like our family member, who visits his maternal grandparents’ home every autumn during Durga Pujo. Hindu mythology is replete with a pantheon of Gods, 33 crore of them to be precise, and Kartik is revered as the Dev Senapati – the Commander-in-Chief of the army of gods. The tale of his birth is no less than a thriller fiction, and Anuja Chandramouli spices it up with her writing.

In her signature style, Anuja Chandramouli presents a mythological tale in a fresh packaging. Humanising the characters, she almost turns the book into a script of a thriller film. The book has solid foundations in the mythological scriptures, but characters are so lively that you could change their names and yet the book would be a bestseller. Chandramouli’s dramatic, yet simplistic, writing is the icing on the cake. The book is a page-turner; it hardly takes more than one sitting to finish the book.

‘Kartikeya’ excels in not only contemporary story telling but also the intelligent re-imagination of the classic tales. The ancient scriptures are divided over the origin of Kartikeya, and even which Asura he actually killed. Anuja Chandramouli deals with these issues with finesse, thus giving the broader message that ancient texts must never be treated sacrosanct, and leaving room for imagination.

In Chandramouli’s book, the king of Devas, Indra is depicted as a power-hungry kind, who indulges in debauchery. The Asura kings are not all painted dark and evil. Then there is the entire episode of relationship dynamics between Kartikeya, Ganga, Parvati, Shiva, Agni and Varun. The shades of grey (more than fifty, may I say) make the characters relatable and believable.

Mythology has become a subject contention in the times we live in. Tales handed down to us over centuries, and select interpretations of them, have transformed into political tools. Anuja Chandramouli reinforces the idea that not all is black and white. The myriad interpretations of the texts keep their essence alive.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

P.S. The review copy of the book was provided by the author

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Book Review: Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior-Prince

Arjuna reviewMahabharata is a fascinating, mammoth work of fiction with millions of sub-plots. There is a saying in Bangla – ja nei Bharate, ta nei Bharate (what is not written in Mahabharat, does not exist in Bharat). There have been numerous renditions of the great epic ion the past. The best among those was indeed “The Palace of Illusions” where the narrative is from the perspective of Draupadi. So, it was even more interesting to experience Mahabharat from the eyes of Arjuna.

The language of the book is simple. The novel is more like a collection of anecdotes, not necessarily in the chronological order. But that doesn’t prevent the reader from experiencing the excitement Mahabharat normally evokes in a person. In terms of narrating history and choices of sub-plots with Arjuna as focus, the book has been successful. Arjuna is portrayed as a human being and not a demi-god that sometimes writers of mythology tend to portray.

This book is a long journey starting with forefathers of Arjuna and taking you through the complete life cycle of Arjuna. A great amount of information regarding the epic Mahabharata that you will not be aware of is presented here in this book. The size of the book appears lengthy at times, and one wishes the writer focused only on Arjuna and not digressed into too many sub-plots.

An ardent admirer of Veda Vyasa’s Mahabharata, Anuja holds the Great Epic to be one of a kind, the Homers and Virgils of the world notwithstanding. Drawing her creative inspiration from the epic s timeless track record of sustenance through centuries of retelling, Anuja chose to debut as a storyteller with the immortal and eternally captivating saga of Arjuna, the non pareil hero.

About the book: Arjuna is the immortal tale of one of India’s greatest heroes. These pages retell in riveting detail the story of the Pandava Warrior-Prince who has captured the imagination of millions across centuries. This is the intense and human story of his loves, friendship, ambitions, weaknesses and follies, as well as his untimely death and revival, his stint as a eunuch, and the innermost reaches of his thoughts. Told in a refreshingly modern and humourous style and set against the staggering backdrop of the Mahabharata. Arjuna’s story appeals equally to the average, discerning reader and the scholar. It spans the epic journey from before his birth, when omens foretold his greatness, across the fabled, wondrous landscape that was his life.

About the Author: Anuja Chandramouli is a full-time mother of two lovely girls, as well as a part-time writer. Her academic credentials include a Bachelor s degree in Psychology and a Master s in English. Having started out as a freelance writer with articles published in Women s Era, Lonely Planet and The Hindu, she currently works as an e-reporter and columnist. Anuja is a self-confessed, big-dreamer, who is driven by an inner passion to contribute her mite to the great pool of human endeavour, thought, and wisdom.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Blogpost Have Their Respective Copyrights

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