This is something I have been wanting to do for a while now. I was so caught up with the fact that this may be a stale review, considering the fact that I got to read the book a little later than most of my peeps, but hey I write for myself! So here goes. This is my review of Amish’s latest book ‘Scion of Ikshvaku’, Part 1 of the Ramchandra Series.
Amish is the kind of author who seems affable. His characters are the ones you are probably familiar with in an extremely mythical fashion, as passed on to you by your mother or grandmother. That’s where Amish’s brilliantly capable mind wanders in and makes you smile as you see how he has rationally tried to decipher the character and the situation, so that it appeals to incredulous souls like me who rubbish mythology and fantasies (Harry Potter is an exception!). The author has created a wonderful sketch of the characters and keeps the reader on his toes constantly by constantly exposing small details about a character which makes you re-think your previous opinion on him. Suffice it to say that Amish is my current literary crush and this is one of the best I’ve read of his works.
The book is a prequel to the Shiva Trilogy- The Immortals of Meluha, Secret of the Nagas and Oath of the Vayuputras. Since it’s a prequel, it ought to provide the foundation for the Trilogy, which you realise after connecting the dots, is so intricately woven. The author completely understands the current society, its requirements and its deficits and he is able to deftly sculpt each characteristic of the protagonists (as well as the antagonist) in a fashion that will surprise and shock you at the same time! In the Shiva Trilogy, the entire paradigm on which the city is built, how the people conducted themselves and what contrasts the entire kingdom from the rest, was the selling point. When I read the Trilogy, I often wondered, ‘They keep mentioning Ram and Ramrajya, what could have possibly happened then? Was Ram really the self-righteous, dharma-adopting-till-death man as mythology claims?’ Scion of Ikshvaku cleared all those doubts from my mind. It was a journey of Ram from his birth till his Vanvaas. Ram was perhaps the really good chap. In today’s world, I can’t even begin to imagine how someone this good could survive. He indeed seems to be the most righteous man in the world! This parallel was drawn beautifully and it is a laudable effort. An Indian mind holds on to its mythology and traditions as a child would to his chocolate, for that is his! At that moment, it makes him complete. To put a twist on those mythical angles, takes a whole-new level of imagination and if you’re journeying in this book, you’ll realise that right after the first chapter.
My favourite character in the book would be hands-down Lakshman! I smiled and re-read that small passage about his lisp several times. The growth of baby Lakshman into a muscular, gigantic and handsome man is something you can physically see for yourself in your mind’s eye. As for his qualities, his devotion and life’s responsibility towards protection of Ram makes you want to go hug Lakshman and be proud of him. His simple, duty-bound nature surprises this generation a lot, that someone can love an elder brother this much, despite being no less a righteous man himself. I just can’t wait for Part 2 of the Series!
I was careful while drafting this review, to not pen the plot of the book, because those of you who haven’t read it, just drop whatever you’re doing and please just go live in Ayodhya! On the whole, Amish shouldn’t be proud that he’s authored 4 books, rather he should be proud that he’s created a Kingdom right from scratch, a Kingdom that’ll remain in the minds of the world and boggle it forever!
p.s. Image source: As always, Google (or now, Alphabet!)