Author: Shubha Vilas
Rating: * * * *
Review By: Keyur Seta
Shattered Dreams is the second book in the six part series Ramayana: The Game Of Life by author Shubha Vilas. The first book, Rise Of The Sun Prince, succeeded in narrating the early childhood of Lord Rama in an enchanting manner (read its review HERE). The author has continued the good work in the second book. This time, Vilas has also overcome the challenge of presenting sad and serious turn of events with so much optimism and pleasantness.
The story commences when Rama is 25 years old. He is married to Sita while Laxmana is married to Urmila. Ayodhya is going through its happiest period until King Dasharata, Rama’s father, starts seeing disturbing dreams. Worried and anxious, Dasharata hurriedly organizes Rama’s coronation as the new king of Ayodhya.
However, Dasharata’s dream is shattered after Rama, Sita and Laxmana are forced to go into exile due to the trick played by the evil Kaikeyi, who dreams of seeing his son Bharata on the throne of Ayodhya. Will Dasharata be able to bear separation from his beloved Rama? Will Bharata accept the throne presented to him through treachery?
Rama’s exile is looked upon as a sad incident and rightly so. But the author has presented the episode and its consequences in a positive and hopeful light. Of course, the reader does feel sad by the turn of events but Vilas’ idea of looking at the positives even in a super tragic situation moves your heart.
The character traits and wisdom of Rama, Sita and Laxmana largely help in this. But in the end, you are most awestruck by the wisdom and humility of Bharata. Normally, Ramayana is more about the greatness of the divine couple and their servant. But after reading Shattered Dreams, the youth, its target audience, will consider Bharata equally great. His love, respect and devotion for Rama will overwhelm you long after finishing the book.
Talking about the language, Vilas has continued from where he left in the first book. It is a smart example of rich language that resorts to utter simplicity. This ensures that the book will be an easy read for English literature lovers as well as for those not much into English reading. Except for few dragged portions before the exile, the pace is fast throughout. The gripping drama peppered on every situation makes sure you are always glued.
Now, some minor issues. Going by the story and events focused, the book shouldn’t have been 387 pages long. The theory that a woman should worship her husband and should always be dependent on him shouldn’t have been glorified. The series is written for today’s youth, so such regressive, patriarchal ideas should at least have been limited. The words of wisdom at the end of the page are inspiring and enlightening. However, on few occasions, that portion is too long.
Overall: Shattered Dreams is a must read for mythological lovers, especially if you have read the first book in the series. It provokes anticipation for the remaining parts.
Publishers: Jaico Books
Price: Rs 350 (available at discount on Flipkart)