Arjun – without a Doubt – My review of the Book

Arjun – without a Doubt – My review of the Book
Reading a book on mythology and
reviewing it is always a tricky proposition. Hence, I too was a bit skeptical
in the beginning whether to lay my hands on this or not. However, having
reviewed another mythological story, a couple of months back, honestly did give
me a little courage to pick up this sensitive subject.

Arjun: Without a Doubt tries to
spin the tale of the epic Mahabhrata from the perspective of two of its major
characters, i.e. Arjun and Draupadi. The entire book revolves around these two
main characters though the ‘sutradhar’ Krishna and the mother character of
Kunti has also been brought in subtly in various occasions.
The first and foremost thing that
I would want to comment here and commend the author is the way she has picked
up the first person narration from the point of view of two characters.  The usage of two narrators to a story is
quite a tough task and the author has very well managed to keep pace with both
the characters simultaneously seldom showing any redundancy.  
However, in this context, I would
have rather preferred to have the switch in the narratives by way of change in
chapters. At some stages, I did feel that the narration continues while
shifting the narrator and the reader tends to lose track as to whose point of
view is being presented suddenly.  The
reader may honestly sometimes lose track of the narration due to these abrupt
switch over and may be required to retrace back to understand whose point of
view is now being portrayed.
The character of Arjun has been
delicately described and the image of Arjun as just a great archer and warrior
has been dispelled by the author by portraying him as a normal human being full
of doubts, whether it is while wanting to win her in the Swayamvara or when he
needs to share his prize with his brothers. The story depicts how heartbroken
he feels longing for the company of his wife and every time he is required to
leave her and go. These doubts in the minds of Arjuna have been delicately brought
to surface by the author and have been shown as increasing as the story
From the subdued feelings in the
mind of Arjuna when he is asked by his mother to share his wife with his
brothers in the beginning of the story to his shockingly rude outburst at his
mother when she mourns Karna’s death towards the end of the story, shows how
much he has changed over the years as the story progresses. From a feeling of
Arjuna, always at doubt throughout the story, his direct dialogue with Kunit at
the end, gives the readers the clear indication and understanding that now
Arjuna is without any doubts.
The entire story of the great
epic to be covered and summed up in close to 280 pages is in itself an epic
task and the author has done well to cover all aspects of the story and retell
the happenings of the Mahabharata in her book with great ease. However in
trying to do so, the story sometimes has become a bit fast paced and the reader
feels neglected in terms of longing to have known more about it. The description
of the Kurukshetra war seems to have been wound up a bit too early leaving the
readers longing for more. But as said earlier, to concise an epic into less
than 300 pages, these little compromises are inevitable.
The strong bond of love has been
very well glorified by the author whether while narrating the friendship and
bonding between Arjuna and Krishna or the strong love between Arjuna and
Draupadi even after the latter’s polygamy.
Surely and certainly this book
manages to change the perception of the readers towards the central characters
of Arjuna, Draupadi and Krishna from the time the story commences till the end
of the war and the author has very intelligently managed to present the
different perceptions to the readers.

The various deep and insightful
quotes and one-liners mentioned in the book really touch to the heart and
brings alive the emotions of the characters. Some of them, which I would
perhaps always remember and quote and would be etched to my mind, would be:
“Heaven is a mirage; all we have
is this life and this earth”
Religion is nothing but a series
of conveniently placed loopholes”
“Goodness is an asset – but if
you allow it to be exploited, it is a liability”
“Truth is a kaleidoscope, it
alters with perspective”

I would sum up by saying that
this book is written in a very simple manner in immaculate language and
contains all forms of emotions, be it humor, anger, tender moments and
absolutely awesome and memorable quotes.

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