The Winds of Hastinapur By Sharath Komarraju

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THE WINDS OF HASTINAPUR: Historical Fiction

AUTHOR(s): Sharath Komarraju has previously penned two brilliantly thrilling novels and has now ventured into telling an epic tale from a different perspective. He resides in Bangalore, dedicated to writing wholly. His website can be accessed here

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BESTSELLERS: Murder in Amravathi, Banquet on the dead. The Winds of Hastinapur is his third novel.

SYNOPSIS (From Back Cover): The tale begins when Ganga  was cursed and sent to Earth. She lives among the mortals and bears seven children to Shantanu, the King of Hastinapur, all of whom she kills. With the eighth, she leaves. That boy, who returns to Earth, will prove to be the key to the future of Hastinapur. The story, as told through the lives of his mother Ganga and stepmother, Satyavati, is violent, fraught with conflict and touched by magic. 

A lady of the river who has no virgin daughter to carry on her legacy. Celestials who partake of a mysterious lake they guard with their very lives, sages overcome by lust, a randy fisher-princess - these and other characters lend a startling new dimension to a familiar tale. Sharath Komarraju does not so much retell the epic as rewrite it.

"My hair is white and thin now. In a few moons, the Goddess will claim me and I do not have a fresh young virgin by my side to absorb my knowledge and take my place once I am gone. The Mysteries of Ganga and her Sight will vanish with me, and the Great River will become nothing more than a body of lifeless water....It is my intention therefore, to tell you this story as it happened and as I saw it happen."


EXCERPT:
You smell bad.
Do I? 
She bent down, hands on knees, to look him in the eye. 
He nodded at her.
The man and woman were still making their way out of the boat, lugging the bundle of pots and clothes along. The ferry girl led the boy a few paces away from the bank and whispered to him,


Do you want to see some magic?
Magic? 
She reached into the crook of her blouse and brought out a little cloth bag. After untying the knot, she slid two fingers through the mouth, and when she brought them out again, their tips were swabbed in a white, powdery substance. She rubbed her fingers on her palm, then rubbed her both her palms together.


Watch now.
She said, and ran her hands once over her arms, shoulders and face.


There, that should do. Now do you still smell me? 

MSM Speaks: It is such an enlightening experience to have a book of a friend in your hand and to not be biased, to not form an opinion even before reading it and to let go of all preconceived notions you may have. Such was an experience of reading The Winds of Hastinapur. I read it with detached attached emotions and with each page I saw a new story unfurl and a new perspective was formed in my mind with every chapter.

This wonderful tale of epic times is from the perspective of women. Mr. Sharath had previously hooked me onto his 'Murder in Amravathi' and 'Banquet on the Dead' (Read the review by Nimue Here), which I read in 5 hours top. The Winds of Hastinapur started with a pace, which was slow in build up and since I sucked at history, despite reading Mahabharata twice, I decided to keep taking break. But after few pages, I just could not keep the book down and officially finished the book in three hours!! 

The book is divided into two parts; Book 1 is from the perspective of Ganga and Book 2 is from the perspective of Satyavati. The tale starts with Ganga becoming a pawn in undoing a curse and continues to bring to fore the ever present divide between the Celestials on the Meru and the Earthmen. She bears seven children but kills them all, only for the curse which was not even bestowed on her and with the eighth child, she relinquishes her throne and returns, only to make a choice, which changes the history and set such things is motion which are both terrific and magnanimous in nature. Her son Devavrata, goes on to become a force to be reckoned with, but nursing a curse that passed on from her mother and the destiny on Meru.

In Book 2, the story is of the Earth, separate from Meru and its mysteries but holds a key to the future of this epic tale of Hastinapur. Satyavati, not very different from Ganga has her own curses to deal with and a price to pay to the Goddess whom she underestimates. She has to make choices, which are destructive for her sons - and  her step son, who is the true king of Hastinapur. Will she be a mother or will she lose her head as she did, when she was the innocent Kali. 

I was impressed by the narration and the poise and control with which the author has narrated a tale, which has always been from the perspective of men of the war, from the perspective of the women. The story is very very refreshing and I found myself curious all the while, not wanting the story to end. I immediately wanted to read the sequel, there are two more upcoming in 2015 and I am so gonna pre-order them!! Wonderful structuring of the story and the play with words. Every character has been portrayed in a manner which is clear and crisp and does not get mixed up! Loved the book!! MSM Absolutely Recommends!!

My Rating: 4.75/5 (The cover didn't impress me much)


The Winds of Hastinapur @ HarperCollins Publishers India 2013

ISBN 10 9351160874
ISBN 13 9789351160878

I bought it from flipkart.

flipkart price: Rs. 186 + 40 (delivery charges)
Number of pages: 320

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