Author: Karthik K B Rao
Ancient Indian literature like Mahabharata and Ramayana has become one of the favourite genres of Indian authors since last few years. This is because young readers have gained interest in such epics, mostly due to the advent of the internet.
Few modern authors have also experimented by giving a modern touch or twist to these mythological epics. Author Karthik K B Rao has given a most modern or whacky twist to Mahabharata in his debut novel, The Mahabharata Code and has achieved decent amount of success.
The story follows Narayan Rao who hails from Bengaluru, India. As a child, he used to love listening to tales of Mahabharata and Ramayana from his grandmother. Later on, he became an avid watcher of the serial Mahabharat on Doordarshan. It is during his time that Narayan’s father migrates to the United States of America. The kid moves to the US with a heavy heart.
After growing up, Narayan becomes an astronomer in NASA. He and his colleagues once realize that people from a distant and mysterious planet have been sending signals of friendship to them. Narayan is sent on a mission to visit the planet. Circumstances ensure that he becomes an integral part of the restaging of the Mahabharata over there. The mission also brings a young techie Srishti into his life.
The Mahabharata Code has an interesting plot. It is truly an out-of-the-box idea to restage Mahabharata in another planet. Rao has been smart in giving a sci-fi touch to the epic. The gadgets and the use of modern language don’t appear silly or out-of-sync. It adds onto the interest and at the same time keeps the flavour of the epic intact.
The book is an easy read. Rao’s language is simple and the narration fast-paced. There isn’t a single sentence that is unnecessary. In other words, you are hooked. On few occasions though, the sentences could have been framed better. But this is not the biggest negative point here.
What harms The Mahabharata Code the most is the pre-climax portion where the big revelation and confrontation takes place. This part is just too lengthy, complicated and, most importantly, difficult to read. There comes a time where you are tempted to skip few pages. The big twist at the end might also leave you unsatisfied, although it takes you by surprise.
Overall: The Mahabharata Code is an interesting experiment.
Review by: Keyur Seta
Publisher: Notion Press
Price: Rs 250/-
Cover: A good mixture of sci-fi and Mahabharata