Mythology and our ancient Indian epic fascinate us, provoke us and teach us. White and black is what we are generally taught by all our elders and which is subsequently justified by various books too. But, what if one day you realise that all our epics are written in grey, that all our stories are somewhere in the middle of our positive and negative possibilities? Asura is just the right beginning when one wants to start searching for all the shades of grey.
The story is essentially Ramayana, but from Ravana’s point of view. The glorious king, the majestic leader and the most famous and obvious villain of Hindu thought and structure, Asura gives you a fresh and a poignant perspective of Ravana as the fallen leader of the vanquished Asura race. Right from his birth to his death, his struggles, his learning, his knowledge, his relationships, his passion, his compassion, his ambition, his love, his leadership and all his thoughts are presented in a beautiful and touching manner. New theories arr introduced as the difference between facts and fiction fades. It presents to you the side of the other, the suppressed, the judged and the tortured. Some lines have the capability to make you shudder from the inside and send shivers down your spine. The way he deals with his internal wars, his memories and his nostalgic moments will make you view Ravana in a different and a broader light. It is best to call Asura Ravanayana.
The characterisation is however somewhat weak for the side characters. But since Ravana is the epicenter, he is portrayed in all his majesty. The language is beautiful and full of enthralling plays of words, the sentences thought-provoking. It makes you relate to him and his story in a way no one can imagine. Reading a book is one thing, experience a book is another. And Asura is as experiential as it can get.
There are absolutely no flaws in the book according to me. It is pure magic reading Asura, the life of Ravana, told in a fashion that will stop you from calling him a villain the next time someone talks about Ramayana. The book ends with some soul-wrenching lines that will make you forget all his demons and make you look at him as an innocent soul oblivious of the worldly wars waiting for him. Its beauty lies in its authenticity.
The impact that this book has created on me is inexplicable in words. It is a must-read for literally everyone who had heard of Ramayana. For people who further want to see the grey of Indian epics, Ajaya by the same author is a gem too!
|Publisher:||Leadstart Publishing||Publishing Year:||2012|
|Cover:||Paperback||No. Of Pages:||500|
|MRP:||Rs 383||Buy From:||Flipkart.com
(Review by Aayushi Shah)