Book Review: Asura by Anand Neelakantan
· ISBN -9788184004045
· Genre: Non fiction
· Publishers: Leadstart Publishers
· Price: Rs. 399/- (I got this book from the publishers for a review)
In everything that we do in life the winners are always talked about. Who won, by how many runs, how did that person win, who took the winning goal, whose strategy it was, who made the victory possible – it’s always about the winners. Nobody ever wants to talk about the losers, how are they feeling why they failed and what has made them realize their mistakes. The first thing that caught my attention was the blurb of this book where the author has mentioned it is about the loser. It piqued my curiosity making me want to read this book.
Behind The book
About the author
I was born in a quaint little village called Thripoonithura, on the outskirts of Cochin, Kerala.
Located east of mainland Ernakulam, across Vembanad Lake, this village had the distinction of being the seat of the Cochin royal family. However, it was more famous for its hundred odd temples; the various classical artists it produced and its music school. I remember many an evening listening to the faint rhythm of Chendas from the temples and the notes of the flute escaping over the rugged walls of the school of music. Gulf money and the rapidly expanding city of Cochin have, however, wiped away all remaining vestiges of that old world charm. The village has evolved into the usual, unremarkable, suburban hell hole, clones of which dot India. Growing up in a village with more temples than was necessary, it was no wonder that the Ramayana fascinated me. Ironically, I was drawn to the anti-hero of the epic – Ravana, and to his people, the Asuras.
I wondered about their magical world. But my fascination remained dormant for many years, emerging only briefly to taunt and irritate my pious aunts during family gatherings. Life went on… I became an engineer; joined the Indian Oil Corporation; moved to Bangalore; married Aparna and welcomed my daughter Ananya, and my son, Abhinav. But the Asura emperor would not leave me alone. For six years he haunted my dreams, walked with me, and urged me to write his version of the story. He was not the only one who wanted his version of the story to be told. One by one, irrelevant and minor characters of the Ramayana kept coming up with their own versions. Bhadra, who was one of the many common Asuras who were inspired, led and betrayed by Ravana, also had a remarkable story to tell, different from that of his king. And both their stories are different from the Ramayana that has been told in a thousand different ways across Asia over the last three millennia. This is then Asurayana, the story of the Asuras, the story of the vanquished.(Source)
Read more about this book and the author here
I have followed this book very closely since the time of its launch. It has been highly talked about in both the good and the bad senses as many people have appreciated the author’s ability to write about Ravana so uniquely while there are equal numbers of people who have not liked the way the author has written about Rama in poor light.
Well for me, I loved this book. I appreciate the way author has managed to write this story about Ravana so impeccably that it sometimes makes you wonder if all that you had been reading till now in Vedas and were hearing as a child was true at all! And that according to me is the real power of an author. The author has claimed that this is all a part of fiction and yet the critics have arisen to write about how belittling it is for a country where Lord Rama is worshipped. I would rather look at it as a creative liberty the author has taken and managed to do a brilliant job here.
Authors have the capability to breathe life into characters, make the impossible seem possible and make the unimaginable imaginable for the readers. And according to me the author Anand Neelakantan has done an exemplarily job here! What character sketches what narration and what an amazing writing style!! Though I knew the ending since the beginning yet the author’s narrative made it so gripping for me till the end that for one moment I forgot that I knew the story well in advance.
Highly recommended for all mythology lovers as I am sure there will be atleast one point in the whole book which will make you exclaim WOW, now that was unexpected! It will keep you on your toes till the last page making you read quicker with anticipation of what will happen next.
This book is like bread pakoda- tasty, spicy, tangy, delicious, mouthwatering and yet utterly desi :)
P.S This book has been received from LeadStart for review.