Indian mythology is too fascinating to get bore. There is something that keeps you glued to Indian myths and legends. There is always something to ponder and discuss about no matter how many times you read or hear it. For that reason, the number of books based on Indian mythologies is increasing day by day. In fact, it will not be an exaggeration to say that the modern Indian fiction is presently being bombarded by an assortment of writings based on Indian mythology. This is especially true for Ramayana and Mahabharata, which have been re-told in refreshing styles of writings. Asura by Anand Neelakantan, Arjuna by Anuja Chandramouli, and The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni are some of the prominent examples of such writings.
Anyway, let us turn our attention to ‘Shattered Dreams’ by Subha Vilas, the book under review. This book is the second installment in a series (Ramayana: The game of Life) of six books. The first book in the series ‘The Rise of the Sun Prince’ was released in 2013 and became a huge success. While I did not get a chance to read this first installment, I am aware of the rave reviews this book has collected so far. These reviews created an earnest interest about this series in my mind. And, therefore, I became very happy when I got an opportunity to read and review the second installment of this series through Blogadda.com.
So let us take ‘Shattered Dreams’ by Subha Vilas and ask ourselves to what extent it illustrates the classic tale of Ramayana in an innovative way. While retelling Indian epics which people think they already know is not an easy task, Subha Vilas accomplishes the job of rewriting Ramayana brilliantly. He makes it more interesting and appealing by presenting much more than the bare bones of the story. He delves into the sub-plots, significance of little known events and the numerous stories within stories. The foot notes given in almost every page help us to understand the symbolic importance of any action taken by the characters. Most importantly, he captures not only the story but also conveys the nuances and philosophies rooted in this Indian epic. This, consequently, make you both think and comprehend many incongruities in the story. I would like to congratulate the author for re-writing Ramayana in such a coherent and lucid fashion. This book does not weigh you down with dreary details. On the other hand, it lets you enjoy the brilliance of the epic.
The book has authentic base to it and it is certainly not the mythological mumbo-jumbo of the interpretation of Indian mythology. Though the book is mainly based on Valmiki’s Ramayana, it also entwines lyrical beauty of Kamba Ramayana, Tulsidas’s Ramcharitamanas and folk philosophy of Loka Pramana Tales. This book narrates the spellbinding drama of Ram’s exile from Ayodhya. The book also gives us a glimpse of Ravana, who is going to play a significant role in the coming volumes of this series. Through this narrative, the book provides deep insights on human relationships and forces us to think hard. The book also has a fantastic cover which will certainly lure you in.
I absolutely loved it, if I haven’t said so before already! Highly recommend to anyone who wants to know more about Ramayana.