The day popularly known as ‘Valentine day’ is very close and love is in the air. You can feel it. Isn’t it? Oh…stop. Do I recognize a clumsy mix of feet? Did you just give a side-eye look? Maybe, you haven’t yet started preparing for the Big Day. Well! I am ready for this beautiful day. And, to prove that I am, I am coming out with a review of a love story, and this love story is not a usual one. This love story is a unique one. In fact, the love story I am going to review is an epic one. Confused? Ok, let’s break the ice. The book, I am going to review today, is Ganga and Shantanu by Ashok K. Bankar. This is the second book of the series called ‘Epic Love Stories’. The first book of the series titled Shakuntala and Dushyant has already been reviewed by me and you can read my review of the same here.
The love story of Ganga and Shantanu is an intriguing one as it was based on a promise. Their love met a tragic end as the promise was not kept. In this story, Shantanu (King of Hastinapur) saw Ganga (the divine river Goddess) amid one of his hunting trips. He immediately fell in love with her and proposed her to wed him. Ganga concurred yet kept a condition before Shantanu that he would never question her and would never ask her to give any explanation about any of her activity or action. Shantanu promised her that he would never question her and would never stop her from doing what she wanted to. They got married but did they live happily ever after? No, as you might have guessed, a day did come after years when the promise was broken. What led to this? What forced Shantanu to break his promise? What happened after that? I think the answers of these questions will be known to you as this story is certainly a well-known one. Read the book if you don’t know the answers. And, I would suggest you to read the book even if you know the answers. The book does not disappoint you even if you have read this story a number of times. I will not say that this is the most beautiful re-telling of a celebrated love story because it is not. However, the story has been dealt with a fresh approach and you will definitely like it. Story in this book flows smoothly and has coherence. Additionally, the story is full of colours, vividness and sentiments.
The Characters of this book are lively and likable. At the same time, I feel that the chemistry between Ganga and Shantanu could have been projected in a much better manner. While the story is supposed to highlight the love between Ganga and Shantanu, the book projects their relationship as of desire and lust at a number of places. I have no problem with this approach but there is much more about love than just being lust. I also felt that the emotions of Ganga when she had to let go her sons could have been portrayed in a better way. Her maternal side somehow remains buried in the pages. As is the case with almost all the Indian mythological stories, there are a number of sub-stories within this mythological tale. And, you get a chance to taste these stories within story too. The book is a small one and can be finished within an hour or so. Overall, this book is both a good and quick read.
Wait till next time to read my review of the third book Satyavati and Shantanu of Epic Love Stories.