The much awaited second book in the Ram Chandra Series by Amish Tripathi is finally out. Titled Sita- Warrior of Mithila, the book has come after a gap of almost two years. Let me begin by warning Amish fans, not to compare this book with the earlier Meluha series. ‘Cause if you do so, you may lose out on drawing the complete essence of the book. I had done it when I read the first in the series, “The Scion of Ikshvaku”, and somehow was left disappointed. So this time around, I decided to read it with an open mind, not really have expectations of any sort. Both of the series of books are different in their own way.
Sita as we know her
What do we know of Sita? She is the one who decides to be with Ram under all circumstances, as that’s what is considered her sacred duty. She is the epitome of harmony, even in the face of extreme hardships. Sita, as we know her, is always known as the wife of Ram, rather than having much of an individual identity.
Sita- Warrior of Mithila
Amish’s Sita is an all together different women. Not typically your shy and coy bride, but she is a brave warrior. Educated, intelligent and trained in warfare, she possesses great mental and physical strength to deal with most challenges. Sita seeks mutual love and respect from her partner.
“What matters is not a weapon but the woman who wields that weapon.”
At a time when India lies divided, with concerns over the demon king of Lanka Raavan gaining power, Sita the Princess of Mithila has tough challenges to tackle. She is the abandoned baby, adopted by the ruler of Mithila. Yet this once powerless young girl rises against all odds.
The Ram Chandra Series
The first book in the series explored the tale of Ram. Part two chronicles Sita’s journey from an infant to the prime minister of Mithila, and to finally wed the Prince of Ayodhya. Part three would later explore Raavan, and all three stories would merge from the fourth book into a single story.
Though considered a sequel, I found Sita- Warrior of Mithila to be a story independent of the first part. So, even if you haven’t read the first part, you could still pick this one up. Parts of the narration are a repetition from the first part. This bridges both the books, as well as, considering this part has come after a gap of almost two years, it served as quite a refresher.
The book carries a unique story telling technique called hyperlink. Amish considers it a multi-linear narrative, where there are many characters, and a connection somewhere in the tale brings them all together. You would find, within it, plots and sub-plots and references to ancient practices that still exist in today’s society, such as the Jallikattu, the practice of caste system etc… It was a perfect way to blend in the epic with what we are today in our modern society.
He had the story right, the narration and characters in place, with a few thrills and frills thrown in too. Yet what really failed for me in the book, were the numerous descriptions, which seemed to go off board. I found myself yawning far too many times, going through repetitive and meaningless explanations of the same thing. Wish he could have kept the whole narration crisper and precise. As I raced through most of these pages, I hoped I would encounter a twist that is a classic element in all of Amish’s books. Even the suspense towards the end failed to thrill. I quite guessed it somewhere during the course of the book.
My disappointment in the Scion of Ikshvaku was the bland portrayal of Ram, though in this part. I must say, I loved the portrayal of Sita, all with her strength and agility.
“Birth is completely unimportant. It is just the means of entry into this world of action; into this Karma Bhumi. Karma is all that matters….”
If you want a different take of mythology with a touch of modernity Amish’s books are surely worth a read. They aren’t just about the Epics; they are much more, with profound messages that lie strewn across the storyline. Sita is a fresh take and an all together new interpretation of the Ramayana. Despite the way the book drags at parts, would still recommend it. I would surely be following this series for more.