Monday, August 18, 2008

The Epic Saga.. Retold !!

Every so often, we hear stories of good triumphing over evil, stories of men and women who inspire us or stories that are beyond the realm of mankind and earth-kind and yet inspire us. But there's one story that ecompasses all this and more - the epic tale of ramayana.

But what, pray tell, is left to be told of this epic tale that has been narrated time and again in the form of books, teleserials, cartoons and theatre? Nothing ? Thats what I thought till I chanced upon a gem titled "Prince of Ayodhya" by Ashok Banker (published by Penguin). It was first of the collection of 6 books kept in a desolate corner of my institute's library. Apart from the (highly) abridged version of the Ramayana that I'd studied as part of my school's Hindi curriculum, I never really had a detailed exposure to this monumental epic. The book looked inviting.. and well.. since it was only one of the 6 books that I'd have to read to get the entire story of Ramayana, I'm sure it must have been pretty inviting for me to actually pick it up and read in between the hectic MBA schedule.

I generally pride myself on my selection of books - I read very little but I've thoroughly relished and enjoyed every book that I've read. This one didn't let me down either.

From the very initial pages detailing the source and the history of various versions of Ramayana, Ashok Banker gives you a sense of the richness of the magnum opus that would unfold in the books to follow. The story that has been told and re-told again and again is told YET again.. but this time with the finesse of an artist who lends new colours, vibrancy and imagination to the same old portrait. This is Ramayana like never before - The dialogues, settings and events are realistic enough to teleport you to the Ayodhyan era, the sorcery and the witchcraft is binding enough to keep you glued to the pages and the emotions are touching enough to melt your heart.

My heart skipped a beat when Manthra shot a green flame of light from her forked tongue, it sank when Rama used the Brahma-astra to elimiate the asura forces and it almost stopped beating when Parasuram's axe touched Rama's neck only to dissipate concentric circles of sound evergy leaving Rama unscathed !

With every page I turned, there was just one thought that crossed my mind - If this book were to be adapted scene by scene in the form of a movie, won't it put the likes of 'The Matrix', 'Lord of The Rings', 'Spiderman', 'Superman' and 'Star Wars' to complete shame? My guess - Yes ! It would !

Till Next Time..

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