Friday, 22 August 2014

Kim's Review : The Winds of Hastinapur

The Winds of Hastinapur is the third book by Sharath Komarraju and the first in his series - on The Ladies of Hastinapur. The series plans to tell the story of the Mahabharat through the eyes of some of its leading ladies. Winds of Hastinapur is the tale told by Ganga and Satyavati, the next one will feature Amba, Kunti and Gandhari. However Sharath has promised that Ganga will be the main narrator and that she will remain in the story until the end of the series.

That is not surprising given his interpretation on the immortality of the Gods of Meru, which is an interesting concept and in itself makes this book worth reading. Sharath has tried to bring about some reality into the fantasy and fantastical elements of the Mahabharath, but other elements remain.

The concept of Leading Ladies retelling the Mahabharat is not a new one, we have seen Pratibha Ray's Yajnaseni & Chitra Diwakaruni's Palace of Illusions which told the tale through Draupadi, The Outcasts Queen tells the story through Princess Uruvi - Karna's Royalborn Wife. Manu Sharma has written multiple female perspectives in Hindi - Draupadi ki Atmakatha, Gandhari ki Atmakatha etc However, I think this is the first time that they have done so in sequence, by a single author.

This book wouldn't really be classified as Speculative fiction, but it is more an interpretation of the events as they happen through a different perspective. The speculative portion of this story is negligible compared to facts from the original. The churning of the Ocean of Milk is the only incident which is reinterpreted in terms of Speculative Fiction and perhaps Bhishma's discoveries before he comes back to take his place as his fathers heir.

I loved the tale of Ganga, it is turned in to something so natural and Satyavati's intentions in her perspective seem so pure, yet the results of those intentions caused serious repercussions.

The question still remains though, how much is actually in our hands and how much is decreed by fate / God?

Rating : 3.75 / 5

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