Friday, May 28, 2010

The palace of illusions

This book by Chitra Lekha Divakaruni Banerjee had been creating quite the hullobullo in the blogging world a few months back.

Since I have been in the alternate world as far as books are concerned, this caught my attention only now and I have been wanting to get my hands on a copy of the book. I already have 4 or 5 different Mahabaratha versions, including the 3 volumes comics by Amar Chitra Katha.
Its one of the most fascinating story(ies) ever produced. It has something for everyone and shows a new facet during every read.

Its even more powerful than Ramayan because of the lack of clarity on right and wrong, on good and evil. The story basically revels in gray.

But my all time favourite character in Mahabharatha is Karna.

In all the different versions of the book that I have read, none of the authors were able to put him in a box and label him. For an evil guy who had joined hands with the kauravas, he advices them to face the pandavas in a battle rather than win through cunning. For a guy who is said to be a very wicked person, his name is the cornerstone for charity.

When Krishna and Kunti, both though knowing the truth about his birth, come to see him only before the beginning of the war, to tempt him to the side of Pandavas, his loyalty shines through.

Be it C.Rajagopalachari's classic or Amar chitra katha's comics Karna begins his unlucky life as an obscure character who then gains importance through his friendship with Duryodhana. But from that point he is deemed evil and all his actions are seen with jaundiced eye. There are quite a few mentions about the Evil Karna peppered through the book.

But after Karna gives away his armour and earrings in charity and refuses to join the Pandavas, despite the temptations from Krishna and emotional blackmail from Kunti, he is suddenly the epitome of charity and goodness, though somewhat misled by unwanted loyalty.He then becomes the noble Karna. (well Duh uh)

Bheeshma who insults him at every turn and at every opportunity, suddenly becomes all sacchrine sweet at his death bed.

Karna is a man who is hounded by ill-luck until his very death, and even that through cunning and not on a face to face battle.

I have always been curious about the relationship between Karna and Draupadi and I hear this book deals with that part in detail.
So more after I get my hands on the book.


1 comment:

Hazel said...

he is the epitome of Bad luck... orphaned ( or as good as orphaned), is not acknowledged as a prince for a very long and by the time he does get 5 villages , he joins the evil man and is immediately painted black... decides to go to war .. and his mum steals / negates his strength...hmm sad