Imagine the classic Indian tale of Shiva Parvati being told in a rational and logical way in the language that is colloquial and contemporary. While still maintaining all the elements of the story. Immortals of Meluha relates about myth, remote mythical empires, extraordinary people, philosophy, dilemmas, simple and not so simple characters. The romance that has boy running after the girl and finally winning her over. Friendship, revenge, war, action, and magical Somras.
Meluha is an out and out Indian story told to the logical mind of the current era, in a language that today’s Indian identifies with. It is also a very different and rational look at a story that we have known forever. And a character that we have often heard of. The author takes a take at how some characters in the history sometimes become demigods and finally Gods with the passage of time. Sometimes it is a stroke of luck, sometimes a dash of faith that someone else puts on the person and sometimes just a play of circumstances.
The names and places are chosen with some research and there is an attempt to explain the unexplained. Like where does the name Parvati come from, how the slogan Har Har Mahadev got formulated. There is a human description of most powerful characters of our mythology: Shiva and Parvati.
If you read the historians views on Mahabharata, where they debate whether it is a reality or a myth, you would discover that all of them agree that it happened. What they differ on is to what extent it happened.How much had been added to it over the ages before it was penned down as a story for the first time.
Let us take a very contemporary example. Devdas a Novel written not so long ago has been made into a movie three times over. If you read the book, it is a very simple story set in a village in Bengal. Then came the celluloid version which made it larger than life but still set in a village. Then came the magnum opus which look it beyond the country and the opulence added for the current times. And then came a very contemporary take on the same story. This is how the gloss keeps getting added to a simple basic story, till they become so big that we start believing in their grandeur. Which is sometimes just a figment of the imagination of the carriers of the story. It is from this perspective that author seems to have de-constructed the story of Shiva, one of our most revered God.
I am not sure if this is a new genre. But Immortals of Meluha is the first book that I have read in this genre. Where you deconstruct myth and history with the current day logic and language. It made an entertaining read, where you keep turning pages and keep anticipating what is going to happen next. You kind of know the story but still want to read it. The end is a bit abrupt and not properly wounded up. There is an element of philosophy that has been kept alive along the storyline. The language could have been better but the strength of the story makes up for it. The story has a folk flavor to it, which for me makes it the bedtime story that takes you to dreamland where everything is possible. The only limitation being your own imagination.
The myths and their scientific explanations, timelines of various historical facts. And their chronological order and many other such things can be questioned. But then it is a fiction and the author has the right to depict things the way he wants.
Look forward to reading the sequel…