My Review of the Book – “Ramayana – The Game of Life – Shattered Dreams – Book-2” by Shubha Vilas
Being
an avid writer on religion and rituals, more as a critic than as a supporter, I
was a bit skeptic when I was offered to review this particular book. The
skepticism was borne not out of my short of confidence in my reading virtues
but from the fact that how would I, more of a rationalist thinker, would relate
to a book on mythology.
However,
as I started reading it, my apprehensions were laid to rest, because I found
the author narrating lucidly the life history of a part of one of the biggest
mythological stories ever written and also linking it quite easily relating to
the problems and predicaments that we so commonly face in our daily life.
To
being with, to give a brief synopsis of what to expect from this book, I need
to say that this book, Shattered Dreams is the sequel to the national
bestseller, Rise of the Sun Prince, which is an innovative writing experience
by Shubha Vilas in his adventure of trying to present the new spiritual and
motivational series Ramayana – The Game of Life.
Though
I have not read the first book in this series, from the first page itself, as a
reader, I could very easily relate that it takes up from where the first book
ended with the narration of the twelve joyful years of the wedded life of Rama
and Sita in Ayodhya. I felt that the narrative has been quite sublime to get the
reader involved in the story without leaving a void to be required to think of
what must have happened in the prequel.
In this
book, Shubha Vilas attempts to narrate the volatile drama of the reasoning and
the logic as well as the circumstances behind Rama’s exile to the forest for 14
years. The author also tries to bring out the wavering thoughts in the minds of
Rama and his younger brother while preparing for the exile which makes the
reader understand the complexities of human relationship in a very subtle and
simple manner.
Since,
the author has not dared to deviate from the original epic, being Valimiki’s
“Ramayana” as the guiding force and light and the inspiration behind his
narration, it gives the reader an aura of mythological contentment and glee of
being able to imagine the religious gods that they adore and adulate while at
the same time understand the complex nature of the reasoning and logic behind
every action, which may seem to us at first attempt to be absolutely wrong and
treacherous.
Shubha
Vilas has been very successful in quoting and in trying to entwine in between
the poetic verses from the Ramcharitmanasas too, without being too
philosophical in his narration. The poetic narrations and their explanations
provided by the author aptly strikes a chord in the reader’s mind as to how
much relevance this ancient epic holds in our modern life.
The
author, being a motivational speaker himself, by profession, seems to have
mastered the art of preaching through his words, how to handle the various
vices that we come across life, like temptation and also how to stand steadfast
in case of any major reversals in life. The actions of Bharata and the persona
of Rama and Lakshmana as narrated herein are leading examples of the above. It
also attempts to show us by way of narration of Sita’s courage, how easily and
comfortably we should be willing to adopt and explore beyond our known
boundaries, the well defined comforts of life that we become so used to.
The
anti-heroes have also been given apt coverage whether it is the painful
explanation of the internal turmoil of Dasaratha or the vengeful actions of
Kaikeyi or even while getting the readers into the minds of Ravana.
All in
all, after reading this book, I felt that the author has done an extensive and
epic research of the subject and has augured well to present to the readers the
basic reasoning and explanations for the actions and inactions of each and
every character in the story.

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How Andre won and lost his beloved
Andre had never been the
glamorous of the lot during his college days but had always had the penchant of
being found attractive to the womenfolk. The women in the class were attracted
to Andre not because of his looks or his flamboyancy but because of his ability
to be able to be for them, with them, whenever they needed him.

It was natural that when Andre
started getting pulled towards Sonia, a year junior to him college, his other
friends of the opposite sex would start feeling jealous. But Andre saw
something in Sonia which he could never forget. He saw in Sonia, the ability to
understand him, to walk along with him in his path and everything that he would
have dreamed in a life partner.
Setting aside a few ruffled
feathers, it was not a surprise to many in the college when Andre proposed and Sonia
readily accepted. But being mediocre to the core, Andre and Sonia both went
ahead with their commitments only through the blessings of their parents and
well wishers.
Very soon, time flew as it would
and Sonia settled into the household bearing a quarter dozen of angels and Andre
settled into his work. Being a dutiful father and a loving husband that Andre
was, he made sure that his beloved and his princesses never were left wanting
for anything. Necessities and demands kept increasing and in the bargain, Andre
lost track of the loving hand he had promised to keep over Sonia’s shoulders in
his quest to see that Sonia would get whatever she dreamed of.
Instances became numerous when Andre
would come home tired from work feeling really happy that he achieved something
to earn another good night for Sonia and his kids, but in the bargain oblivious
to the fact that what Sonia desired was that he be with her during her time of
solitude.
As Sonia went into seclusion,
never assuming for a while that it was the same Andre who had promised her the
life of bliss till eternity, without realizing that it was for this life that Andre
has been working hard, the isolation of Sonia kept on increasing, which Andre
never noticed in his pursuit of his definition of happiness for his beloved.
This phase of Sonia’s life was
however noticed by Pete, a recent acquaintance, who used to frequent their
home. It was not very long before Sonia realized that she found in Pete the
perfect shoulder to cry on, someone who would be with her when she needed;
someone who Sonia felt understood her needs and interests. Slowly and steadily
as Sonia started getting attracted to Pete, who found in her a perfect ally to
pursue his Casanova ways of life, Andre, who had been her life partner, and who
stood by her through thick and thin started drifting away from her life.

Pete was street smart enough to
pick up Sonia’s hobbies and interests and encash it to her satisfaction and
happiness and Sonia in the bargain totally fell for it. She started believing
that if at all there was anyone in the world, who understood her needs, it was Pete.
Very soon, Andre realized it and
as he started trying to woo Sonia back to him and his angels, it was perhaps
too late. The bonding and the web that Pete had created in the minds of Sonia
had grown so deep that she couldn’t pull herself out of it by her own conscience.

Andre was left lamenting on his
fate. The flamboyancy had faded away, the confidence waded away and the smile had died away. In the midst of the sadness that always filled Andre’s
eyes, one could see a tint of happiness that in this bargain, he had his
angels, his daughters, with him, and the glitter of hope that one day Sonia
would realize, and he would win back his beloved whom he has lost.

To be continued…….

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The true meaning of the Lenten Season
As the Lent season commences, let
us all understand that it is time to love, to repent and to believe.

When we talk of love, what we need
to understand is that our love should pour out to the needy, the downtrodden.
And what do we repent for? This is the time to introspect and repent for the
hardness of our heart, our indifference to all that is going on around us. And
then believe. Believe in the beauty of nature, believe in our weakness and our
strengths and reach out to people less fortunate than us.
This Lent, let us understand that
it is not just a period of fasting and prayer. Rather let us understand the
real meaning of it. Let us hear the prayer of others, who are calling out to
us. If we close our ears to others’ prayers, we can’t expect to have God’s ears
open to us.

Let us not consider this season as
“Let’s see, I guess if I do without this, then I can have that. But by having
that, I’d have to do without something else. I wonder if I did without that, if
I could have this, but only after a certain time”. If this is our attitude, the
cross that we drew today is just another dust on our forehead.

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