Sunday, March 2, 2008

Ancient Story, Modern Language

I had the fortune to read the six volume modern retelling of the Ramayana, by Ashok Kumar Banker. The story is something all of us would have heard and read many times, but what makes this series stand out is that it is not told from a spiritual point of view. The language is also modern, and the narration is similar to that of any modern English Novel.

The characters have been drawn out excellently, and the attention has been paid to the details. At times, it is a bit wordy - certain descriptions could have been more brief. But overall it makes a gripping read. The volumes are titled - 1. Prince of Ayodhya, 2. Siege of Mithila, 3. Demons of Chitrakut, 4. Armies of Hanuman, 5. Bridge of Rama, and 6. King of Ayodhya, totalling over 3000 pages.

The first book has a slow opening (initially a little patience is required, but it is worth the effort), but soon gets pacy as the plot is introduced. The series is in a way Banker's own version of Ramayana, though he tries to stick to the original storyline. Interestingly, he has successfully conveyed deeper meanings, though in a very unconventional way.

The author is now working on the other great epic from India, the Mahabharata, which is supposed to hit the stands by next year. I am eagerly awaiting its release.

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