What happens when mythological characters from the epics come and live in a modern-day world? Makes for an interesting take on what we knew of the original story.
Misters Kuru by Trisha Das is one such book. It is not a modern take on Mahabharata, but a new story in a modern-day world with the same people. However, it does provide some interesting perspectives on some of the characters.
I received a paperback copy of Misters Kuru as part of Blog Chatter’s Book Chatter Review Program in return for a candid review. Here is my take on the book.
The book starts with the Pandava men who are in Heaven, with the author subtly describing the celestial world and what goes on there. With a change in status from well-known and revered Kings and Princes to ‘just regular’ people in Heaven, the Pandava men seem a little lost. Add to that, they suddenly find that their wife Draupadi & mother Kunti visited Earth along with Amba and have decided not to return! Unable to understand why the ladies would abandon them without so much as ‘asking for permission’ or even telling them about it, the Pandavas decide to visit Earth and bring the women back to Heaven and ‘save’ them from a life of misery.
However, the women seem to have adapted well to life on earth, and even seem to be enjoying it. Kunti is able to re-connect with her son Karna in a new avatar and fulfill all her motherly duties that she was unable to do in her original life. Plus she takes charge of running an orphanage and finds solace in caring for the kids. Similarly, Draupadi too has a new life with glamorous clothes & friends and is famous in her own right, fighting for the rights of women. She also fights for her own needs and has her say when she no longer wants to be the wife of Pandavas. The bond between the two women is more like a mother and daughter, with Kunti supporting Draupadi in her stand. Amba, who was re-born in the original epic as Shikhandini and never had the chance at a happy regular life, is now a happy mother.
When the Pandavas come down to Earth, they realize how these women have changed and that it will not be an easy task to take them back to Heaven. The men do not adapt to modern life as well as the women. The story unravels how they come across several challenging and strange situations in the modern-day Indraprastha (now Delhi) and what they learn from it.
If you liked the Mahabharata and are someone who is open to new angles to the story, you will definitely enjoy this one. Do not go in trying to match the Mahabharata to this one, as except for the characters and some references to the original, it is a new story in its own right. The book is perceptive, funny, and sometimes emotional too as each of the characters looks back at their previous life, what was left unspoken or unfulfilled then, and question many beliefs. The book also provides a funny, yet insightful take at what happens in our everyday world, how sometimes people are used for one’s benefit in the Kaliyug and makes us rethink our choices. So if you are looking for some light but interesting reading, pick up this one.