Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Immortals of Meluha

A title that was rejected by plenty of publishing companies until one finally accepted the story and published it. This book, within a week of its release, was the buzz word you could hear everywhere around you if you are surrounded by book-lovers. This book, released in February 2010, became an instant hit, selling over 125000 copies, and the demand for the book was so huge that it had to be reprinted several times to keep up with the demand. It became one of the best selling novels of 2010.

I kept away from this book, till a week ago, when I decided to read the book. I tend to not read Hindu mythology in a language other than Tamil, and I was of the opinion that this is a mythological book until I read a small piece of it at Landmark. Misled by the cover picture, I thought it was some sort of religious remake of existing Hindu mythology.

I order this book online (Flipkart) along with its successor, The Secret of the Nagas. I read the complete book in less than a day. The book is about – What if Lord Shiva was not a figment of rich imagination, but a person of flesh and blood – a man who was raised to become godlike because of his karma.

These lines attracted me further. An interesting plot. The novel revolves around the protagonist Shiva, who is a Tibetan immigrant to the land of Meluha, a perfect ancient India as Amish has described, how he pursues Sati (Parvati) with all his deepest love, and how his karma recasts him as our Mahadev, God of Gods.

For those who think this is only for Hindus, you are wrong. It has nothing to do with Hinduism. It has all the perfect society that could be imagined to exist 4000 years ago, a period where this novel is set.

If this book is plainly read, it is yet another novel, with a different plot, blending myth and history, with volumes of fabulous imagination. Amish has blended all the important characters of our Hindu mythology with vibrant imagination, and has cast a beautiful narrative out of it. Plainly read, the narrative is quite predictable. At least, I felt that way. I loved some of the explanations given for the society that Amish has created. The Maika system, Somras, Vikarma etc. are to be really appreciated.

If you look deeper into what this book tells us, a whole lot of philosophy is hidden within a wonderful story line. 
a.   We, as individuals should be judged only by our karma, not by caste, religion, region, etc.
b.   What is evil? – Something that is different from your world of ideas
are some of them.

Talking about the author, Amish Tripathi is an MBA turned writer, and is now writing the third book in the Shiva Trilogy, The Oath of the Vayuputras. Though the story line is simple, his imagination and the blending of characters into it, and infusing his philosophical ideas into it is worth appreciating. Another aspect I loved when I checked out this book at Flipkart was the video trailer for this book. It is definitely a cool way of attracting even non-readers out there.

I have the second part of the Trilogy in hand. Let's see what this creative author has to say about the Nagas.