The reason I picked up this book is that it is related to the Hastinapur series by Sharath Komarraju. When I finished The Rise of Hastinapur, I knew there was a long wait before the next book came out and I was mighty disappointed. But Sharath Komarraju offered me this: Dear Sakhi: The Lost Journals of the Ladies of Hastinapur and I was more than delighted to lap it up.
The author divides the book into small portions of diaries of the prominent ladies of Hastinapur, as might have told to their confidantes or sakhis in that time and age.
Sharath Komarraju’s books give out a rustic, village feeling. Everything the characters do is filled with an Indianness that resonates with everyone. He, yet again, sets his story in a small village where as he says, “everyone knows everyone else.” The Puppeteers of Palem starts off on a tentatively eerie note, as if it is trying to gauge whether or not the reader is going to get scared.
Mrs Funnybones is a book that makes you feel happy and light in the end but still leaves you with a weird sense of zeal and inspiration that propels you forward.
Though I cannot relate to life as the protagonist, Ms. Khanna doesn’t make it any less funny. It’s hilarious and brilliantly so – funny and self-deprecating, the blatant allusions make you gawk at first and then burst out into fits of laughter. You’d find some jokes too cliché, but then the book as a whole is a healthy mix of all emotions, humor taking the throne.
The reason I keep going back to read Sharath Komarraju’s books is his exceptional description skills. His words have a knack of transporting you into the scene almost immediately. His wonderful insights into the workings of the mind, especially a woman’s, leave me spellbound. At one place, he says, “She wondered if it was the woman inside her that made her worry so. Did she always have to have something to think about, something to fret and brood over?”
Is there a truer description of womanhood and the restlessness that comes with it? I don’t think so.
Donoor’s Curse is a story woven around the village of Donoor; a village steeped in superstition. Or so it may seem. But when Devdutt Pathak loses his godfather, who has very wisely or unwisely left him clues, Dev heads out to the village to find out why his baba was unceremoniously snatched from him. What follows is a thrilling story of adventure and revelations and shocks, woven in with Dev’s spasms of alcoholic craving.
When you read the life story of the serial killer, you begin to think: No wonder he turned into one. He was dealt a tough hand by everyone he knew! And when you think about Maithili, you think, how did someone like her become so righteous? No guilt associated? The story is, in a gist, is something we might have seen portrayed multiple times on screen in different languages, but it is so freshly put that the book turns out to be quite the thriller. The book reminds one eerily of the movie, Gangaajal, though, here, there’s the reasoning behind the bad man’s actions listed out in detail, too.
Nari came out before the Hastinapur series, but I read it well after I read The Rise of Hastinapur and appreciated how adept Sharath Komarraju is at putting word after word and weaving a story with panache. From Nari to his latest books, Sharath Komarraju has evolved in his writing tremendously.
Elegantly woven, The Rise of Hastinapur is a worthy successor to the equally engaging The Winds of Hastinapur. Throwing light on the importance of women’s presence in the time of the Mahabharata, The Rise of Hastinapur brilliantly captures the lives of Amba, Kunti and Gandhari, giving you a comprehensive view of the characters of the great epic.
To be frank, I had minimal knowledge about the Mahabharata before I read these two books and I’m not proud of it. The fact that a person who is not well-versed in the Epic, such as me, can now write down the characters’ names and draw family trees with panache, reflects highly on the author’s ability to skillfully penetrate any reader’s mind.