Monday, March 29, 2010

Immortalising the Immortals

Sometime near the end of Februaryduring one of my very critical purposeless browsing, happened to see a promo on YouTube. Extremely slick video, fabulous music had me interested, and was surprised it was for a book by an Indian author. Cool Marketing effort.

The first chapter available for free download had me hooked. Incidentally, another great marketing idea. Was traveling beginning of March and had made a mental note to pick it up at first available opportunity. And Lo! The Other Woman had got it for me with a nice little inscription. That woman is still wonderful after 10 years! Once again congratulated myself on my prize catch! (Sorry, I digress!)

Having a more than passing interest in mythology, myth, folklore etc The Immortals of Meluha was an excellent read and was everything its promo promised. The book tends to lag at a few places, but quickly comes back to its fast pace. The research gone into the book is truly amazing, the author has studied the Indus Valley and related civilizations and has gone in-depth into mythology. The book essentially sticks to the broader positioning of character as per the Puranas but gives newer interpretation to their roles and also moves them up and down chronologically. Essentially the author has taken the vast canvas of Hindu Mythology and has created his own very very interesting flow and explanations.

The author has interwoven small interesting details which readers with a little bit of knowledge in the Puranas will find interesting. Churners at the bottom of Mt. Mandar,Daksha`s Goat Amulet are a couple of these. I would love to see how the author brings in Daksha`s ill fated Yaga/Yagna. Veerabhadra is all ready for his entry, Is Krittika going to be BhadraKali? On a historic level, is he going to give an explanation for the seals of the Indus valley particularly Pasupathi - which is the earliest link to Siva or Siva like Image in History. These and many more interesting points make me impatient to see Parts II and III.

I presume Part II will be out in a year and Part III a year after that. Do sales really justify a year long wait? Reportedly The Harry Potter series did justify the wait. But, what about Eragon, The Trilogy got extended to a fourth, did I miss it don`t know.. Anyway AT, his promoters and publishers have done an excellent job in launching the book. Cool Marketing effort. It better be, after all he heads the marketing of a large Financial company!

Meluha in ancient India is searching for its savior, as they believe; their neighbors in Swadweep are out to destroy them and their way of life. Meluha reminded me of Atlantis, with their utopian ideals and everlasting youth potions (Somras). The savior called `Mahadev' can be recognized, by his neck colour, which will turn deep blue on drinking Somras. The story moves on with Shiva being declared the Mahadev, his attraction to Sati the Emperor Daksha`s daughter, the very contemporary terrorist attacks all culminating in a grand battle.

The ending is a big let down. Why, Oh Why! Did it have to end like a cheap serial novel! A quick reading of the closing used by Rowling and Tolkien may help for Book II. Both R and T leave the reader in suspense WITHOUT a feeling of work unfinished or any abruptness. The book ends as if the author`s computer ran out of disk space or he ran out of ink!

Amish Tripathi is no Tolkien (as yet) But Yes now there is an Indian writer willing to play around with our rich and vibrant mythological characters and weave them into a whole new puranic Web.

A must read in my list.

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