When your exams just get over, you surely wouldn’t like to read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and especially, if you are gonna spend your next 24 hours in a train, where you are bound to be asked questions like ‘Oh, this novel looks interesting. What it is about?’, you would have a hard time explaining to those aunties about Atlas Shrugged. Instead, I chose Amish’s The Immortals of Meluha. It wasn’t a mere alternative. I wanted to read it but the fact that my friends were a bit ahead in the series wasn’t helping in this regard.
I completed the book in the train itself. It has nothing to do with its quality and it had everything to do with the inefficiency of Indian Railways. Well, the train was 14 hours late and with nothing great to do, I did what I was destined to be doing. Yes, you got it right. It is all about oft-repeated theme of self-fulfilling prophecy. But the central theme is interesting: what if Shiv was a mere mortal who had to struggle for even survival? The author has undertaken not an easy job. He has to explain all of the Shiv’s godly mythological power in terms of his version. How Shiv was able to control Gange in his jatayen and other stuff. And how on earth Amish would show Shiv’s son Ganesh has elephant’s head? For a spoiler, Sati and Pavitri are same according to him.
I liked the starting. Shiv taking a deep drag of chillum on the sides of Lake Mansarovar was an interesting read! Shiv figuring out the attack strategy in Mander forest was superb but not better than pointing out that guilt-filled Vishwadyumna was the one who had done the mistake by placing his foot too hard on a twig. Moreover, his attempts for impressing Sati provide comical relief.
Coming to its not so good aspects, the volley of Sanskrit words being thrown amidst English was quite painful to me. It took some time to accept it. Many a times, I wished it should have been written in Hindi. If someone wishes his master, ‘My Lord’, you can’t blame me for imagining that this story can be set anywhere around the world but not in India(Unless, you are talking about British India). This is specially evident in one of the chapter’s title Vikarma, the Carriers of ‘bad’ fate. Amish could have saved his face with simply naming it as Vikarma. But could not have done more than just saving his face. This brings me to his major weakness: chapter titles. One should know one’s limitation. It’s a common practice when you don’t have the knack of naming each and every chapter suitably, you simply don’t attempt it. His unimaginative titles sometimes surprise you by doing worse-they kill whatever suspense there was. Another thing, it takes quite some time to build-up. If you ask me, Amish used the whole of the book for this. See it doesn’t take Sherlock’s mind to figure out that Chandravanshi weren’t evil. And after that, Shiv would repent. It was all predictable, except one thing. I thought Sati would be kidnapped so that Shiv gets a motivation to attack the Chandravanshi. But it didn’t happen.
Now with the preliminaries done, I think the other two parts should be better, less predictable.
Har, har mahadev!