Author: Vikas Singh
Publisher: Westland Limited
I have grown up listening to the tales of Mahabharata, read Amar Chitra Katha books on various characters of Mahabharat and have even seen the mega serial on the same, directed and produced by BR Chopra with the faces of actors still etched in mind.
When WritersMelon sent me the book for review I was eagerly awaiting its arrival.
Having read the Mrityunjaya by Shivaji Sawant, Jaya by Devdutta Patnaik and Ajay, The roll of Dice by Anand Neelkanthan, I was expecting this story in similar vein with great characterisation and detailed narration of various events.
The Epic story of Mahabharata has a plethora of characters, each with a story of its own. Each character of the story is capable of telling and retelling the story from his or her own perspective.
Author Vikas Singh chooses to be the voice of Bhima, one of the Pandavas. In this short volume, Bhima is the solo narrator who voices his view in a sort of monologue. Vikas has wanted to portray Bhima’s feelings for Draupadi. The story weaves Bhima’s passion towards his shared wife into all events since the day of swayamvara till the great war and final journey towards heaven.
I liked the way author has attempted to impart some life lessons with the help of events like Bhima’s meeting with Hanuman, . When Bhima meets his half-brother Hanuman, he is taught the importance of humility…
“There is a thin line between confidence and arrogance. Confidence is good, arrogance can prove fatal.“
When Arjun returns with new wife Subhadra, Bhima consoles and advises Draupadi…
“We can’t force someone else to feel particular way about us… You can choose to be resentful…Or be grateful that the person is a part of your life”
However, the story nowhere highlights Bhima’s virtues properly. From the beginning of the story it looks as Bhima has broken into a tirade against all people around him. He laments how his mother was always biased towards his younger brother, how his teacher was always partial to Arjuna, how his wife who is also the wife of all brothers pines only for Arjun and even in the most passionate moments imagines she is with his younger sibling, how Devas keep on beckoning Arjun, how women are almost always attracted to Arjuna, how he never gets credit for the wars he has fought and so on..
Vikas Singh has made Bhima look like one who keeps harping about all his exploits at various situations himself and is always jealous. If he was aiming to bring out his virtues, I haven’t been convinced. Instead I feel Bhima is resentful, jealous and always complaining… a sign of an under-confident person.
I found the passionate episodes in the story very undesirable. The brothers are shown discussing their personal post-marriage first-night experiences which is very racy and like the juvenile jokes.
Bhima was never in shadows….he was considered the most powerful….most of his exploits and adventures are known to many. He was not under-confident even or else he would have succumbed to his own flaws.
The fact that there is so much information about the various events is proof itself that Bhima was never in shadows. I feel the great warrior has been wronged in this story. I am hugely disappointed with the book.
The story is good for readers who are interested in reading a juicy racy story without much details of history and mythology.