Monday, November 01, 2010

The Mahabharata retold....

I am a big fan of the Indian epics. I grew up in a house where Sunday mornings were reserved for watching B R Chopra's Mahabharat. The booming voice saying "main samay hoon..." will never be forgotten. Every kid in my generation grew up to this phenomenon on TV.

Recently a friend recommended this book to me and the unusual title caught my eye right away...Devdutt Pattanaik's "Jaya, an illustrated retelling of the Mahabharata"

Having bought it, I went through the book in one sitting. It is a magnificent and brilliant reproduction of the epic. What makes this book unique are the fantastic line drawings on each page. The author not only brings out the essentials of this ancient tale, he also illustrates a picture for each sub-plot. The strokes and writing are definitive! An absolute delight for someone who believes that there cannot possibly be a another epic that even begins to cover what this text of Indian culture and history leaves you with.

No where in the book does the author reduce to preaching. He touches up on each story and its connections to modern thinking. Small info boxes between the retelling give the reader the source and origins of the stories. The reader is also informed of any variations to the most popular version that exist. The author also shares current rituals and festivals that are celebrated due to specific events in the Mahabharata.

I completely enjoyed the book. It bought back childhood memories and I found scenes from the TV serial enacted in my head as I read through them in the book. The line drawings deserve an absolute applause. They can only be defined as perfect.

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