Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Review: Shattered Dreams - Part 2 of Ramayana: The Game of Life by Shubha Vilas

In continuation to my earlier blog on ‘The Rise of the Sun Prince’(you may want to read the review here), here is a review of the second part of the Ramayana series titled ‘Shattered Dreams'. This book like the previous version has tales from Valmiki's Ramayana as well as the Kamban with some sprinkling of folklore which is what makes it worthy of the mythology hungry reader.

Twelve years have elapsed in Ayodhya since the royal wedding of Rama and Sita – the next part regales the reader with the tale of Rama’s planned coronation, subsequent banishment to the forest and Bharata’s efforts to bring him back. The romance of Rama and Sita is also quite very well depicted without the theatrics of overwhelming the reader. 

In a similar vein to the previous book, the tale has been dramatized and narrated with a fervor that keeps the reader hooked. The story takes off with Dasharatha’s foreboding of evil which prods him towards a hasty decision to coronate prince Rama to be the ruler of Ayodhya. There is jubilation in the city with this news but for one person, who bears a long time grudge towards Rama. The evil hunch back Manthara plots a nasty conspiracy to displace Rama as the crown prince and anoint Bharata, son of Keikei in his place. This sparks off a chain of events that shape the destiny of many lives and kingdoms thereafter.

Again, I am not going to particularly elucidate on the story of the Ramayana which is all too well known. However, as was in the previous book, there are a few tales which may be little known which are brought to light in this book. The story of how Bharata endeavored to persuade Rama to come back is well narrated revealing interesting nuggets such as, Dashratha’s promise to Keikei’s father at the time of seeking her hand that her son would be the crown prince. Although this particular story makes me wonder, if he was unwilling to abide by that promise, how was it that he was willing grant Keikei the boon she asked for? 

However, the story aside, some takeaways from this book are what ideal behavior should be towards all, the importance of being detached in times of happiness or sadness, and how to be positive no matter how trying the times may be.  Incidents in the story are linked to various life lessons that it is meant to impart and the author has lucidly interpreted various aspects with analogies and examples. The footnotes make for excellent reading to understand the underlying message behind each of the stories in the Ramayana. Lessons such as the five management mantras towards effective leadership, solutions to success, and the six anarthas to conquer make for interesting reading as do the notes on understanding ideal behavior.

All in all, it makes for some decent rereading of the Ramayana although I would still say that the narrative style could have been better.  My verdict on this book is the same as the previous book with a rating of 3.5 out of 5.

If you would like to buy this book you can preorder the book from Amazon or any of the other leading book sellers.