There have been quite a many now. Re-telling of the mythology as a genre has gained immense popularity in recent times. This isn’t really restricted to Indian publishing. In fact the recent Madeline Miller’s Circe shows that globally too, mythology is a genre that’s popular amongst authors as well as readers. As popular as it is, such books are hard work for an author. For, the facts are out there as just a frame work. One needs to fill it up with their imagination to finally be able to deliver an engrossing read. Anuja Chandramouli attempts one such retelling- of river Ganga, believed to be a form of Shakti.
She is Shakti
In a liquid form, she flows as a river that is considered to be the holiest of all. But she is Shakti who protects, nurtures and cares for all alike. As the daughter of King Himavat and Mena, Ganga comes with a charm and oozes out energy to cure, heal or if required destroy too. She is the sister of Parvati who is the faithful consort of Lord Shiva. Anuja describes her life from her days as a young girl, growing up with Parvati, the complexity in their relationship, the arrival of Shantanu, friendship with Saraswati and her children Bhishma and Kartikeya. Depicted as the free spirited woman, Ganga flows on her own path. Nothing can stop her, as she challenges norms and prejudices of society. She may seem to be outspoken, but what she questions are nothing but unjust acts and words. From origin, through her motherhood, the book breathes Ganga- showcasing a saga of the immortal that she is, with a heart that is ready to forgive sins helping one attain eternal moksha. The sub-plots borrow stories from mythological references and entwine together to emerge as one well woven book
With a slow start, the book picks pace midway to create a sketch of Ganga as an indomitable one. As the flow of chapters quickens, Anuja’s descriptions create a visual form in the readers mind, giving insights into Ganga’s persona. Her temper, contrasting patience and the hues and shades of her mood are eloquently described. It is but natural for readers to draw parallels with modern day women and their life, from the metaphoric lines delivered by characters. With facts in place, it speaks volume of the research that has gone into writing the book.
A slackened conclusion to the book though did leave me disappointed. In fact, a more quick paced narrative with shorter and crisper sentences would have made this a page turner for sure.
In an epic as great as the Mahabharata, that’s laden with characters, Ganga plays a crucial role in shaping the course of the destiny of the future generations of the Kuru clan. Yet, she is spoken less about. This book attempts a focus on her.
Ganga- The Constant Goddess is for mythology lovers who would love a relaxed and leisure read.
The book is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book format.
*This book was received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review
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