Despite all my vehement claims about how I am not a Hindu (and I maintain these claims) I have a penchant for Hindu mythology, and fiction based on Hindu mythology. Whatever it may or may not be, Hindu mythology is rich and varied with fascinating characters. I read them for the sake of simply reading them and not as a moralistic exercise.
Recently, I got into one of THOSE moods and I read two of these books.
The first one was called Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divikaruni which was the Mahabharata from the perspective of the female leading character, Draupadi. It is strangely feminist, arresting and un-put-down-able. It leaves one teary-eyed often and a gives a new way of looking at the “heroes” of the war. It paints a very real picture of the status of women in India and brings to the forefront, the forgotten half of the population of the glorious past painted in the myths. It manages to offer a kind perspective, however, and most of the faults of all the characters get forgiven, at least by the reader. It’s a good read if you’re interested in this kind of thing.
The second book I read was called The Pregnant King(No, it’s not a typo) by Dr. Devdutt Patnaik, which is a refreshingly liberal piece of work that focuses on a discussion about the ones in between blurring society’s clearly set out ideas of not just what is right and wrong, but also what should be exist and what should not. The idea sought to be conveyed is that society’s perceptions of right and wrong may be necessary but they are not the whole truth and it is never wrong, and indeed commendable not to judge anyone and open your heart, forgive and accept. It was again arresting, and I loved it.
These books also reminded me of a couple of other books I had read in February, bang in the middle of the months that weren’t(February to April) and had totally forgotten about. These were the first two books of the Shiva trilogy, The Immortals of Meluha and the Secret of the Nagas. They were quick, enjoyable reads, made accessible by the very fact that they didn’t subscribe to the classical idea of divinity. I am looking forward to the next book, due to release this year.
I’m not sure what to take up next. Any thoughts? Maybe? Please?
-sets bottle afloat-