Book: Scion of Ikshvaku
Rating: 3.5/ 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Amish the famous author of Shiva Trilogy, now ventures into the second of the Godely trio Brahma- Vishnu- Mahesh with the story of Rama (Ram). This Indian mythological genre is clearly less explored in the literary world. My generation has grown up on Ramanand Sagar's version of Ramayana, so to visualise another interpretation of one of the greatest mythological Gods of India - Ram is not an easy task for the author or the reader. But Amish does a decent job scripting his own interpretation of the events that unfolded around 3400 BC with the Suryavanshi Ragul clan of Ikshvaku.
In true Amish style he keeps the cards hidden, leaving the reader confused and speculative of the future events. In evidently the suspense is unnecessary given that everyone knows how the epic ends with Rams victory and Ravans defeat. But it's the underlying plot and scheming behind these events which is part of Amish's imagination and his job as an author which makes you read his books still. Especially for a complete fiction reader it's a treat to get myth and legends presented in my favourite genre of Indian Fiction.
I particularly liked the description and use of Masculine and Feminine ways of life. After all Hinduism is considered more as a way of life than a religion. There is only one God and the others are just representations of the same. To believe only yours is true and the others as non believers is probably the biggest problem with human beings. Sometimes I feel it's better to be an atheist. It's the way of life and it's cyclical ways with no ONE perfect way of living but evolving or balancing the opposites. Where Feminine signifies freedom, passion and beauty. At best it is compassionate, creative and nurturing towards the weak, in decline they tend to be corrupt, irresponsible and decadent. Masculine is defined by truth, duty and honour. At best it is efficient, just and egalitarian, and in decline it is fanatical, rigid and harsh towards weak.
A universe which is characterised by solo or all, rigid or freedom, passion or strength, Ram tries to brings in a balance by imposing rules and boundaries showing the perfect way of living. But despite authors attempts at showing the point of Ram, I fail to relate to it. Everyone believes that the faltering, gullible, the rules and the law abiding Ram is the next Vishnu. But not on a single occasion he looks or feels like the all mighty Vishnu. Everyone is either his enemy or in the garb of a friend, but clearly he has no idea as he is used as a puppet in the scheme of things by the more clever players. This is probably how politics work, what seems is not always the truth. The truly powerful are behind the scenes and the poster boys are the so called heroes.
The part I hate is the Ram- Sita love interludes which are cringe worthy Bollywood style. Who flirts or romances like this except in Bollywood? Hear this,,,,
He reached for her hand, pulled it close to his lips and kisses his fingers, gently.
Sita turned towards Ram and smiles. 'what's on your mind, husband?'
'Very husbandly things, wife..'
Ram laughed. "I'm not trying to start a trend. I don't want to marry another woman because I will be insulting you by doing so.'
This is so typical of an intellectual man who thinks about right or wrong in love but doesn't do it for love. Like he will not marry another woman because it's wrong to his wife,
The author portrays them as strong intelligent beings capable of intellectual conversations and do cheeky Bollywood romance at the same time. Something is amiss and I can't put my finger on it exactly. You can call it breaking stereotypes or character mismatch.
In all Amish makes a good attempt at presenting a myth in a popular fiction style. This is a commendable topic as well as initiative. To make the essence of scriptures to be made available to masses. And when you say masses there is something for everyone.