Monday, June 13, 2011

‘The Palace of Illusions’

I have just finished reading ‘The Palace of Illusions’ by Chitra Divakaruni Banerjee and I find myself viewing the well known epic Mahabharat from an entirely different angle. The authoress ought to be commended for approaching the epic from Draupadi’s angle. I would not say that I have never wondered how Draupadi felt on being married to five men or how she felt after the war was won. After all she was instrumental in pitching the Pandavas and Kauravas against each other and at the end of it just the five Pandav brothers remained. Draupadi lost her sons, brother, father and a whole lot of well wishers just because they chose to support her cause. Did she feel avenged or did she feel guilty? The book had answers to many questions that would often come to my mind. The concluding chapters were the best. Draupadi mellows down and realizes that the price paid to restore her honor was heavy and works towards counseling and rehabilitating war widows. She finally learns to let go. I would suggest book lovers to get hold of the book and enjoy it. It has a romantic side too harping on Draupadi’s unfulfilled love for Karna that remains buried in her heart till death. A review of the book is available here.

11 comments:

Jay said...

Hi HHG,

Thanks for the recommendation. It always interesting to know what could gone in Draupadi's mind while the limelight has always been on the Pandavas...

Now that I am back in my reading mode, I will definitely go for this...:-D

R's Mom said...

I just read Mistress of Spices by the same author..a couple of another people have also recommended this book...lemme see if the library has it

Renu said...

mahabharat has always been so intriguing in all the ways..Draupadi was married to five hubands, becuase she had asked God to give hera husband who had all the qualities, and the one which couldnt be find in a single man, so she got five husbands.
Thats the reason we say that think before demanding anything from God.

AS said...

hii

i will read this book very soon, i have heard a lot about it

Jayashree said...

Hi HHG, I've been a silent reader of your blog for a while now. Delurking to say I love the way you write. The Palace of Illusions is a book I really liked......like you said, it makes us look at a well known story from a different angle.

Hip Grandma said...

Jay:Please do get hold of the book and read it.You are bound to enjoy it.

R's mom:I have a copy of the 'Mistress of spices but have not read it. May be I will do it soon.

Renu:I think we have to more careful while asking for something from the Almighty. Our demand may be just twisted out of context!

AS:Wecome here.please do read the book. i'd recommend it to all book lovers.

Jayashree:Welcome here. So, I have company. The story was dealt from a different perspective isn't it?My husband is reading it now.

pinashpinash said...

I've read the Palace of Illusions and loved it...

The Brown Vagabond said...

I am surprised to know that Draupadi had a crush on Karna. Ordinary women would say enough with one husband. For Draupadi, not only she did bear the craziness of five husbands, but she went on further to have a crush on another man. She must have been made of steel.

Vidya said...

Loved reading the book and I too am waiting to grab a copy of Mistress of Spices.. What i liked was the contemporary-woman face-lift given to Draupadi and the other, more softer side of Bhima:) The conflicts, the emotions etc are so so relevant and so familiar:)

RS said...

I liked the book a lot too. So many things made a lot of sense and I liked the way it is written too.

Until then I had never really thought about Mahabharatha from Draupadi's point of view!

Hip Grandma said...

pinashpinash:It was a good read wasn't it?

The Brown Vagabond:Draupadi was no ordinary woman. She wanted a man with six qualities but since she was late in wishing for a generous hearted husband her love for Karna remained unfulfilled according to a version of the story I read as a teenager. But as you say, dealing with one husband is a project in itself. Draupadi took on a mega project.

Vidya:True. Women characters are never portrayed the way they ought to be. Chitra Devakaruni has done a good job of it.

RS:I have often thought not only of Draupadi but of Kannagi and Sita as well. they were wronged women and instead of describing their plight one hears of Ram's valor, loyalty to his throne , obedience towards parents and what not. The woman was pregnant when she was sent to the forest a second time on the words of a gossip monger and no one thinks of discussing her plight. At least Kovalan was not exalted to this extent and kannagi receives due credit.