” I am Rama, the King of Ayodhya,and this is my story.” – The Exiled Prince
Mythology seems to be the flavor of the season. When I picked up this book for review , the first thought that crossed my mind was What different this book has to offer. Ramayana, The holy epic, can be found in every Hindu household. We have seen movies , TV series , read comics on characters based on Ramayana.We all know it like back of hand. So what’s the idea behind writing a book on Rama, the most famous character in Indian mythology? Why re- write a tale that has been told many times already ?
Rama is the most worshiped Indian God throughout India. The name itself stirs an ocean of emotions & devotion in any Indian. Rama is the ultimate reference point to lead a righteous life. He is ‘Maryada Purshottam‘, a devoted son, loving husband, brave king & perfect role model for the whole Indian society. Even today people draw inspiration from his character . You simply can’t go wrong in telling the life story of a character so huge & widely respected. The risk of offending religious sentiments or mixing facts runs high here. Its a brave attempt !!
I went through some pages & instantly knew I am going to get treated with some wonderful writing here. The characters might be familiar , the story told & heard before but this a fresh perspective at the life of RAMA.Unlike other works on Rama that concentrate mainly on the birth & life of Lord rama, the story here describes the ‘Ikshvaku’ dynasty . It is easier for the readers to understand the relevance & importance of the events described later in the book. Even someone who is not aware of the Indian mythology can easily relate with the characters & events .
There are many amazing facts that this book unveil. For example the age of RAVANA, the main antagonist in the epic, was some 10,000 years when he fought Rama. Ravana also fought with the great grand father of Rama King Aja. He was a constant threat to the whole human race & was driven to rule the whole earth by wiping man & gods alike.
We knew that the king Dashratha didn’t have an heir for the throne But what many of us might not be aware of the story behind the vicious attack on King Dashrata that caused impotency.The attack was orchestrated by his enemies in an attempt to kill him . The timely medicare by his royal physician “Aarthakan” saved his life . But by that time poison spread its side effects .The three marriages of king Dashratha & many other events were the aftermath of this incidence.
There are many other compelling features that keeps you glued to the book. Like ‘Kimpurushas’, celestial beings who lived at the foot of the Himalaya or “ Dasas”, a warrior tribe who forged alliance with Ravana & fought against Ayodhya. These stories are well researched and are adapted from different folk lore. They are inter weaved in the main track effortlessly taking the narrative to the whole different level altogether.
The flow of reading is some times interrupted by some editorial mistakes. Like the word “Airavath” is misspelled in the main narrative but the same is spelled correctly in the Glossary. The beginning of the story also creates some confusion as both King Dashratha & Rama are telling stories to their kids simultaneously in consecutive chapters .And apparently reader feels flustered while trying to find out who is telling the story to whom.Apart from few errors here and there ( which can easily be overlooked as misplaced punctuations or editorial mistakes ) , rest of the book is crisp & well curated.The story makes up all small glitches & your are lost again in the grandeur of Rama, the exiled prince.
The writing style is fluid. The words are so beautifully weaved that it creates a picture in front of your eyes as you read the book. The description of the place, situations is meticulously done , leaving nothing for imagination. As you glide through the pages you feel you are part of this huge canvas. The story although known to most of us still leaves an impact because of its refreshing narrative. I am sure once you are done with the first installment of ‘The crystal Guardian series ‘ , you would want to pick up the next installment and finish it in one go. As the next installment is still in conception stage, we can do nothing but wait. Hail to the Exiled Prince, Rama.
[ P.s – This is my First book review thanks to Sandeep Varma. Thanks for this opportunity Sandeep. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope I have done full justice to a good book & gave a balanced review. Here posing with the book as you asked me to do. [Loved it though :) ]