SITA – An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana
A fantastic approach to Ramayana by Devdutt Patnaik
Eventhough we have seen and heard many versions of the Ramayana, you would be surprised if you open the book, Sita- An illustrated retelling of the Ramayana.
From the back cover:
The chariot stopped far from the city in the middle of the forest. Sita alighted, eager to walk amongst the trees. The charioteer, Lakshman, remained seated. Sensing he had something to say, Sita paused. Lakshman finally spoke, eyes to the ground, ‘Your husband, my elder brother, Ram, king of Ayodhya, wants you to know that the streets are full of gossip. Your reputation is in question. The rules are clear: a king’s wife should be above all doubt. The scionof the Raghu clan has therefore ordered you to stay away from his person and his place and his city. You are free to go wherever else you please. But you may not reveal to anyone that you were once Ram’s queen’
Sita watched Lakshman’s nostrils flare. She felt his embarrassment and his rage. She wanted to reach out and reassure him, but she restrained herself.
‘You feel your Ram has abandoned his Sita, don’t you?’ she asked gently.
‘But he has not. He cannot. He is God – he abandons no one. And I am Goddess – I cannot be abandoned by anyone’
A mystified Lakshman returned to Ayodhya, while Sita smiled in the forest and unbound her hair.
Book Name : Sita – An illustrated retelling of the Ramayana
Author: Devdutt Patnaik
Publishers: Penguin India
We all have had heard lots of stories about Sita and Ram from our grandparents. In our childhood, we used to listen in awe to the stories about how Ram married Sita, and about how cunningly Ram was sent out to the forest for 14 years and how sita, even though she had no compulsion to follow her husband, willingly accompanied Ram to be in his presence at both good times and the bad times. We have also heard about Ravana and how he was finally defeated.
But, most of us wouldn’t have heard about the rest of the story.
In his book, the author, Devdutt Patnaik begins the book as a story told by Shiva to Shakthi. And he goes on to narrate about how the story reached Lava and Kush, sons of Ram. He goes on to explain about the aftermath of Ramayana in a brief manner.
The book also has a page with a list of Ramayana stories written till date right from the 2nd century. It was fascinating to know about the different versions. The book doesn’t stop with the mere naming of the different versions; in each and every chapter, the book compares the story form of different scripts and how each one is different from one another.
The chapters start with Sita’s birth. The birth of the Goddess has been portrayed in a poetic manner. At the end of the chapter, the author has given us few snippets of information. It is like reading for extra points, apart from the required ones. In those he has told about the geography, philosophy, the attitude of the people of that era and much more.
Totally, it was like reading the epic with lots of notes and references and the book is one big encyclopaedia.
One more thing to mention about the book is the illustrations penned down by the author himself which make the book much more likable.
Even if you are not a very big fan of reading Mythology books, you will tend to like the book.
And you can’t help but appreciate the amount of effort put in by the author.
It was one interesting piece of read. It goes beyond the usual happy ending and it will make you think a lot about those people and question many of it.
My final rating: 9/10