Asura-Anand Neelakandan : 36/52

The other side of The Story


I’m always on the Other Side. I’ve never liked that goody two wooden slippers Rama, selfish guy. This book is from Ravana’s side. No, he doesn’t come out as the hero here, not even the anti-hero. He is still the bad guy. But when the sole purpose of someone’s birth was to make someone a god, there’s no winning anything.

As Ravana lies on the battlefield, dying,  jackals feasting on his intestines, he narrates his version of the story. Shunned by his father, insulted by his half brother, with the responsibility of taking care of his mother and three siblings, he vows to restore the Asura supremacy. A meeting with Mahabali proves to be the turning point in his life and he declares himself king, gathers his army to overthrow his half brother Kubera and become the king of Lanka. Ravana comes out as a well meaning but extremely impulsive and immature person, extremely insecure. He makes a deal with a captured pirate instead of executing him and he rushes forward to reward a spy from the enemy side, not realising that such spies should be killed. He follows the rules and ethics of war and judges Rama for the way he killed Vali.  He is several shades of black and white.

In this book, Sita is his daughter, the one destined to bring about his downfall. His object of lust is Vedavati, the brahmin widow whose spirit enters the abandoned baby Sita. Slight Greek tragedy effect here. Mandodhari is the strong woman, educated, mature and independent. Soorpanaka is the silly, pampered younger sister who gets what she wants, be it marrying the revolutionary Vidyutjiva or the revenge she seeks for her nose that was cut off.

There is a  parallel narration by Bhadra, a low asura farmer who has lost everything to the Deva atrocities and swears revenge. I won’t call him the catalyst, but he is the enthu cutlet who is the reason behind everything. He poisons the army and wins Lanka for Ravana, he betrays the revolutionary leader Vidyutjiva, he abandons Sita instead of killing her and so he indirectly becomes the reason behind The End. He immigrates to Ayodhya and becomes that dhobi who plants the seed of suspicion in Rama’s mind.

This was a real story, everything magical and mythical was humanised and explained logically, be it the ten heads or the flying machine or the golden deer or Hanuman burning the city. There are terrible typos and grammatical errors , each mistake was like biting into a stone while enjoying biriyani. The book could have been crisper, there is a lot of rambling in both the narratives.

Makes me want Ravana to be reborn and win the story atleast once.




7 thoughts on “Asura-Anand Neelakandan : 36/52

  1. After reading your review I am unsure as to whether to pick it up or leave it. I was expecting something to be written about the style of the author and overall readibility.

    On an another note – there are several retellings of the classics, both the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha. It seems to be a type of fan-fiction similar to that spawned by the HP series. To put my remark in context see the kinds of weird assumptions that people have made in the HP fan-fiction: Were Harry and Hermione in a secret relationship?

    PS: Anyway what is your reco on the book?

    • I would not recommend it. It just rambles on and on without direction and the writing is very mediocre. Can’t call this fan fiction, just another version from the antagonist’s side. Ajaya by this author is next on my list. But after Asura, I don’t think I’m going to read it anytime soon. I’ve read most retellings of the Mahabarata and Ramayana. I’m waiting for Kavita Kane’s version from Urmila’s perspective next. But for Indian myth, nothing to beat Devdutt Pattanaik. ( And I don’t get any Harry Potter reference. I’ve stayed away from the books and the movies. I somehow just can’t stand HP 🙂 )

  2. Pingback: The Rise of the Sun Prince- Shuba Vilas :46/52 | The Book Story

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s