Arjun : Without a doubt - Book Review

Not another book on Mahabharata. I thought, when I saw the summary of this book. And yet, I was tempted to read it because, it was on Mahabharata. Mythology, as always, lures me to read it. And there, I clicked the button for BlogAdda's book giveaway. Thanks again for choosing me to do something I love. Reading and reviewing.

Though I was sceptical because the subject has already been dwelled up in the past, by various mediums. In the book forms, or the alternate versions of the epic written on point of view of Arjun. A few months back I started reading Anuja Chandramouli's version, which I left midway for unknown reasons. But still, I have a feeling that this is the character - who is not given justice, respect and fame he deserves. Arjun - despite of being the central hero, gets washed off in contemporary versions of the epic whenever it is told again and again. With that in mind, I started reading Arjun : Without a doubt by Dr Shinde Sweety.

At first, what catches the attention while reading this version is the writing style. Here, it is not told from a witness' point of view. Neither it is told as a version of historical tale. But here, it is like a biography. Full of monologues and telling things as they happen, in front of their eyes and around. Making this quite an interesting to read from the very first pages. Though I got confused (and was, till the second half) between the two characters. As the story unfolds with two protagonists telling their story. Arjun and his lady love Draupadi. It was tough to differentiate immediately identify which character is telling his/her tale. Thankfully, I came across a review that described the chapters starting with *** are as told by Draupadi. Phew, things were easy then.

And the fact is - this different styled telling of the tale is the most intersting facet of this book. And then, the author's selection of the events. Which events to be emphasized and which ones to be toned down to mere lines, because such events are so popular that needs not be retold. Even, some events that are originated despite of the fact they are just myths. Like the one popular myth we have been hearing. Kunti did not know what Arjun brought to the hut, and told to share Draupadi among all five brothers. While the actual tale, is totally opposite. How could she order in such a way despite that fact she already knew it was not mere thing? Another major event, yet again involving Draupadi. The famous 'cheer haran' in the court of Hastinapur. The version Sweety tells us, seems more believable then the one which we are hearing since childhood. Here, the author shows the power of woman. Who can transform to Goddess Kali when she is assaulted and insulted. Not a silent delicate and helpless one, but a fierce warrior who can finish up the things at the same moment.

Choice of characters is the clever thing here. I could not get enough of whenever Draupadi and Arjun get confronted. We get to peep into their life. How it would have been for a couple bound by rules and exiles. Despite the fact Arjun won her hand and being the only one who hopelessly loved her - he can't even meet her alone till the eighth year since their marriage.  And during those eight years how his exile forms his life like none other.

By the time the book reaches its last quarter, you are bowled by awesomeness how the war is described. And even the aftermaths and lives of the survivors. Moreover, the bonus 20 pages of analysis by Sweety, that talks about all the ifs and buts and myths and connections. The summary is just as good as the whole journey the book takes.

Overall, this makes a worthy read for those who love this epic. For its central characters of Arjun and Draupadi and for the tales that are not told every now and then.

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