Generally, a person goes through two kinds of emotions, once he has finished reading the book.
Dammit! Why did I waste my time reading this book?
Dammit! Why did this book end so early? When will the next book release? What happens next?
Honestly, I am one of those who belong to the second lot. I have this same set of questions in my mind. Why did this book end so early? When will the next book of Ramachandra series release? What happens next?
First things first, do you know what the best part about Amish Tripathi’s writings is? I mean he writes on mythology. I must have read Ramayana ample times since my school days. So what makes this book worth a read? For me, the portrayal of a Godly figure as a normal human being and then turning him into a superhero (well, not like the ones who somehow get supernatural powers) and then into Their present status as Gods, that’s what makes his books worth a read.
Plot: The book starts with the climax (not the climax of Ramayana but the kidnapping of Sita), Rama, the self-exiled prince of Ayodhya along with his stepbrother Lakshmana hunt a deer and suddenly they hear screams of Sita being kidnapped by the Asura king Raavan (or Ravana). They rush to her aid but fail to do so. (Honestly, I dislike knowing that they all were non-vegetarians. However, almost all Kshatriya kings were such or they were not.)
Flashback… (Now this is where the story starts) Decades earlier, Raavan, an army general of Lankan trader king Kubaer (the richest man of all in those times) had defeated the always-victorious Ayodhya king Dashrath. Coincidentally, Rama was born to his eldest queen Kaushalya in that period, thus considered a bad omen. Months later, Dashrath’s favourite queen Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharat and again a few months later, his third queen Sumitra gave birth to twins Lakshman and Shatrughan.
Maharishi Vashishta, the royal sage of Ayodhya took the four princes under his tutelage and trained them in various fields. (He has a plan going on in mind to make the world a better place to live in.) The princes shared a good bonhomie with each other. All the four excelled in some or the other fields. While Rama would feel neglected by his father and his nobility, Bharat would be under constant surveillance of his mother Kaykeyi. Lakshman and Shatrughan sided Rama and Bharat respectively. Vashishta had an alliance with Nagas and Vayuputras while his friend turned stranger Vishwamitra belonged to the Malayaputras side.
As time passed, the relationship between father and son sweetened gradually (Rama saved Dashrath’s life while being on a hunting expedition). Rama was a follower of laws while the rest believed that sometimes laws should be broken or made flexible. Had Rama not followed laws then he would not have married Sita as well. Rama was the prince of principles. He would prefer dying following the law rather than dishonour them. Manthara, the richest mercenary of Sapt Sindhu had a grudge on Rama as she blamed him for the death of her daughter Roshni (rakhi sister of the four princes, the doctor who was gang-raped and the main accused had escaped the death sentence due to shortcomings of the law.)
On the other hand, Vishwamitra plotted against Rama for the greater good by compelling him to carry out certain tasks. By fate, Rama married Sita in svayamwar in which Raavan was insulted. Lakshman married Sita’s sister Urmila. During the war of Mithila, forces of Raavan made a hasty retreat as Rama had forcefully fired Asuraastra (a nuclear weapon banned by Lord Rudra) on them. According to Lord Rudra, usage of daivastra or asuraastra for the first time attracted fourteen-year exile punishment and death if used again.
Rama under the guilt of breaking the law compelled his father to banish him out of the kingdom for fourteen years. Unable to do so, Dashrath unwillingly did so by granting Kaykeyi her two boons that she had earned while saving his life during the battle against Raavan. The two boons that she asked, “Banish Rama for fourteen years and make Bharat the crown prince of Ayodhya.”
Rama, Sita and Lakshman left from the Sapt Sindhu region and passed thirteen years with ease, with the help of Nagas and Malayaputra leader Jatayu. During the last year of their exile, they encountered Raavan’s half-brother Vibishana and half-sister Shurpanakha. An ugly turn of events compelled Rama, Sita and Lakshman to move out of their surroundings and had been running around for months. (Lakshman had accidentally injured Shurpanakha while saving Sita.)
My Take: The best part about Amish’s writings is the way he makes the reader fall in character with Rama the normal human being. He deserves a huge round of applause for the way he describes the settings, the scenes, the emotions on paper. He has outdone himself in portraying the first meet between Rama and Sita. Forget about Rama, Sita and the rest. The hero of this book is Amish Tripathi himself. If Shiva Trilogy attracted the chemistry between Shiva and Sati then he has completely kept the reader hooked through Rama and Sita.
P.S. (Spoiler Alert): This book is a prequel to The Shiva Trilogy. To know how and why kindly read the book.
Peace, Poetry and Power