Finally completed the third book of the Meluhan trilogy - The oath of Vayuputras. I actually wanted to write a review on the second once it was done. But since the final part of the series was also launched by then decided to club it together. There is another reason to it. Its the way the trilogy has been structured.
When I first heard of the book, the name was very catchy - Meluha. And the cover had a picture of muscular Shiva. Infact all the 3 books have Shiva on their covers. But interestingly none has his face visible. Another thing that irked my curiosity was the way the trilogy had been structured. By now every one knows that its based on Shivapuranam. But what I didn't like was they way it was split into 3. The author might've weaved a wonderful imaginative story but at its heart its still the Puranam in its original form. He might've given his interpretative twist to it, but anyone who has read the original know the story and how it ends. Its for this very reason I felt the way in which he tries to dramatise the ending of the first two books, was unnecessary. This is definitely not pulp fiction or some mystery series. The first part ends in a cliff hanger and the hapless readers have to wait an year to get to the second part. Which again leaves readers in quandary over the return of a character supposedly dead some 500 pages before the ending. Both the endings, were very cinematic and the follow up sections to those endings are a huge let down. Its at these junctures, phirangi English authors scores over our local ones. Take for example the second of the series, The Story of Nagas. The plot involving Nagas comes so late into the book, you would almost wonder why the book was titled on them. It continues right from the next line where the story ended in first part. Same goes for the third book. Though named on the Vayuputras, their story comes almost 400 plus pages into the book. It gives a feeling that all the 3 books were written in one shot and just to make them appear like a trilogy they did a physical cut on the story into three parts of about 600 pages each.
Another complaint I've is on the third part again. Sati gets killed and Shiva wants vengeance. Though the Meluhans had nothing to do with her killing, for the sake of their motherland, they decide to get themselves destroyed along with their country. Just for the sake of sticking to the original, in which Shiva goes on a Rudra thandava spree and threatens to destroy the world, after killing Daksha and destroying his yagna, the author, needn't have resorted to this way of an ending to Meluha. Felt it reduced the dignity of otherwise peerless Shiva.
Now to the positives. They are aplenty. Firstly kudos to the wonderful imagination. In a country that is fanatically devoted to idol worship, both literally and figuratively, the author has done a tight rope walk of humanising the all powerful shiva and has taken the right amount of literary freedom while telling the story, never going overboard. His amazingly simple explanation for "har har mahadev" (every one is a mahadev)and the way he describes the reason for each name, be it person or place is awesome. I loved the portion where he reveals Ganesh's name, lord of the people and the lead up to the revelation. The way he ties up every single thread from start to finish is again an amazing aspect across the trilogy. The war scenes have been described to the minutest detail possible and one could almost visualise the battles.
Shiva, as a god has been someone I revere. More out of a fear inducing respect or vice versa, i really don't know. But there is definitely a mysticism about the lord. He comes across as a more silent and reserved persona with infinite power and wisdom simmering underneath the calm exterior. Though Vishnu comes across as a playful god across his many avatars, with his prema leelais, to me Shiva is the ultimate loverboy /man. Especially the one involving Sati in the original purana. He is so smitten with love for her, her loss makes him loose his cool and he goes ballistically human only to be stopped by Vishnu. His place of stay is also harsh and inhospitable and makes it difficult for his followers to reach him. But once they do overcome the hardships, its eternal bliss. This trilogy, dilutes the bliss factor to a maximum possible effect, maybe because of the interest shown by Karan Johar to make it into a movie. But is still an indisputable page turner of a novel. Wishing for more such books :)
(Thanks to vid for sharing the third part..u r a real chum :))