‘My hair is white and thin now. In a few moons, the Goddess will claim me, and I do not have a fresh young virgin by my side to absorb my knowledge and take my place when I am gone. The Mysteries of Ganga and her Sight will vanish with me, and the Great River will become nothing more than a body of lifeless water… It is my intention, therefore, to tell you the story as it happened, as I saw it happen.’
The Winds of Hastinapur begins at the point when Ganga was cursed and sent to Earth. She lives among the mortals and bears Shantanu, the King of Hastinapur, seven children, all of whom she kills. With the eighth, she leaves. That boy, who returns to Earth, will prove to be the key to the future of Hastinapur. The story, as told through the lives of his mother Ganga and stepmother Satyavati, is violent, fraught with conflict and touched by magic.
A lady of the river who has no virgin daughter to carry on her legacy, Celestials who partake of a mysterious lake they guard with their very lives, sages overcome by lust, a randy fisher-princess – these and other characters lend a startling new dimension to a familiar tale. Sharath Komarraju does not so much retell the epic as to rewrite it.
Another Mythological fiction. Another Mahabharat. Although the epic seems to be the flavour of 2013-14 with a range of books on its characters, Mahabharat never gets tiring for some of us. We’ve had Arjun, Draupadi and other characters adorning our bookshelves these days, but Sharath Komarraju presents us with two very interesting and often neglected characters – Ganga and Satyavati.
The book begins with Ganga reminiscing about her life, her mother and the influence of Gods on her. Most of us have known Ganga only as a river and mentioned in Mahabharat, but her history and the course of her life is as interesting as other women in the epic. Ganga’s identity is primarily showcased as the mother of Bhishma who also bore other children to his father Shantanu. Satyavati is Bhsihma’s stepmother whom Shantanu married after he got besotted with her. Ganga and Stayavati make an interesting pair of women to be compared with each other.
Ganga is the quintessential mother, caring, concerned, and soft while Satyavati, the princess of fishermen, raises herself to become the Queen of Hastinapur. It is quite interesting how the author has portrayed them in the book.
I haven’t read Sharath Komarraju’s previous books which were thrillers. But he has done a pretty good job with Mythology as well. It is very difficult to fictionalize popular mythology as most people are aware of the stories via word of mouth. However, Sharath has added his own interpretations quite skilfully, so that the facts don’t seem out of place. I liked his style of writing and choice of words. The book is quite recommended for people with even a slight interest in mythology or the Mahabharat. Add this book to your shelves along with Arjun and Draupadi. By the trend, it seems more epic characters will make a foray in contemporary Indian Literature.
My Rating: 4/5
About the Author:
Sharath Komarraju is a writer based in Bangalore. He has already published two thrillers called ‘Murder in Amaravati’ and ‘Banquet on the Dead.’ This is his third book.
Language: English, Genre: Fiction/Mythology
Author(s): Sharath Komarraju
Publisher: Harper Collins, Year Published: 2013 October
Binding: Paperback, Edition: First, Pages: 320
ISBN-13: 9789351160878, ISBN-10: 9351160874
Reviewed for: Writersmelon