To me, stories of Ramayana , are things that take me back to my childhood, 50 years ago. There was no TV, no cable, no DVD's , no Amar Chitra Katha, only black and white movies, and what fired my imagination , were the mythological stories told to us, a gaggle of young cousins, by our grandmother, at bedtime.
By and by , I was exposed to the best of Marathi literature, a very richly developed resource, and the classic SriRamayana, Srikrishnayan, KarNaayan and other stories, told in spell binding fashion, by folks like the late Gopal Neelkanth Dandekar, who were the types who personally lived history, making their writing very attractive. These stories were written from the points of view of the main personalities, though not in autobiographical form.
So when I received this Book, "I, Rama" from the Blogadda Book reviews program, I couldn't wait to start reading.
I was disappointed.
While the idea of an aged Ram telling his story to his sons, Hanuman, and his brother Laxman, with the help of Sage Vashishtha's son was interesting, there appeared to be a confusion on whether this was a story being told or history being stated. Sometimes it even looked like a script being written....
To start with, there are too many supplementary characters here, being treated in primary fashion. Too much detail, that takes the emphasis away from our effort to know the mind of Lord Ram, which is what I expected the book to be about. I thought an inordinate number of pages were spent on King Dasharatha and the going ons regarding defeating the asuras, with almost step by step fight details, and descriptions of fighting hierarchies starting with gods coming down from the heavens, forts appearing and disappearing, wild attacking animals emanating from attacked forts etc etc.
The only new learning from this book was the character of Kaikeyi, who has been treated as a kind of warrior princess, who is very smart intellectually and who gets her way each time.
Whether it was fooling the king in a man's garb, at her initial encounter, whether it was about being offered in trade, as queen , against Dashratha helping protect her father's kingdom, whether it was preferring to take a call later on the 2 boons offered to her, or whether it was about getting the boon timing so perfect with regard to her son's "promotion", that today's management gurus would greatly applaud .
It is a bit difficult to visualize her sitting behind a screen playing the dutiful wife and watching the arrival of the sages at court, after having just returned, from not just fighting shoulder to shoulder with Dasharatha against the Asuras, but even saving him with her amazing charioteering , horsemanship archery, and bravery.
The book is studded with special effects using laser technology, physics, chemistry, biology, cosmology, intergalactic travel, not to mention conversion of fields into matter and matter into fields, with a alacrity that would shame the Higgs Boson.
The narration is in flashback form, but fails to hold your interest.
For various reasons that have to do with inadequate editing , proofreading, and crowding of too many characters, this book appears to be an attempt at pouring in into a small space, the huge research possibly done by the author. And the reader loses concentration.
The whole idea of children/elders listening to stories from mythology , was so they learned about and admired the qualities on the main characters, and how they dealt with problems, with a lot of thought, dedication to certain ethical values, and tough decision making . Listening to mythology gave you a peep into the minds of the various deities, and warriors.
The way, one heard such stories, made us demand for more. Whether it was from a story-telling grandmother, a play , a film or something else.
This book does not fall in that category.
I delayed picking it up after I had momentarily put it down while reading. It is not a book that will keep you awake.
This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!