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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

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


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