I look forward to weekends. Saturday to be more precise. This is the day I and Akhil often go out for lunch. We make it a point to eat at a different restaurant each time. However, the exciting part begins after the lunch. A visit to the Crossword book store and then a cup of coffee in Brio. The restaurant located in the store. Do check out their range of coffees. Personally I think they are much better and cheaper than the range one would get elsewhere.
As usual last Saturday we had lunch at Indijoe. Followed it up with a visit Crossword to and picked up some books. The only sore point was that we couldn’t get a cup of hot coffee. Bad luck. Of the three books we picked up, one book caught my attention – The Pregnant King.
Mahabharatha and Ramayana are my favourite epics. I particularly remember Mahabharatha quite well. This is where the story of Yuvanshva caught my attention as I never came across this character in Mahabharatha. To my delight I found this was the work of the author — a fictional story.
The Pregnant King
Publisher: Penguin Books India
Author: Devdutt Pattanaik
Published in: February 2008
Price: Rs. 295
Verdict: Interesting Read
Author Devdutt Pattanaik takes the liberty of using his imaganation and inspiration from folklores to sketch an impressive story. This is the story of a King who becomes a mother to become a father to become a king. A story of Vallabhi, a kingdom which yearns for the rightful king who never comes.
Set during the time of the Kurukshetra war, the story unfolds the desires and egos of the inhabitants of the royal palace of Vallabhi. It starts with the crowning of the new King of Vallabhi — Shilavati the widow queen (as a regent) as she carries the heir (Yuvanshva) to the kingdom in her womb. Then the struggle of Shilavati, a woman with the head of a king, to hand over the power to her childless son who has three wives. The son for whom things go awry. There is also the brahman couple who return as brahma rakshasas to seek revenge on him.
In brief the story is of Yuvanshva’s many questions for which he seeks answers. About his failure to produce children even with three wives, why his mother doesn’t crown him the king and finally the question of whether is a mother or a father.
And there are other characters like his son who finds the story behind his birth unbelievable. The second queen who rejects Yuvanshva as a husband. Arjuna and his story of how he felt being like a woman. The ugly-looking yaksha, Sthunakarna who spends his life as a woman and a man helping characters like Shikandi and Somvat. The book ends with Yuvanshva finding the reasons for his confusing existence and events that happened in his life. Overall a good book to read once.
And do head to Goodreads. This is yet another online service that helps us see what our friends are reading. We can also keep track of books read and organize them into shelves.