Review: The Shiva Trilogy – Book 1 – The Immortals of Meluha

Having heard and seen a lot of publicity of this book series by Amish Tripathi, I finally found time to read the three books during a short 4 days break a couple of weeks back.

I had already received different reviews on this series – the store manager at Sapna, where I purchased the book also contributed his opinion based on the feedback of the readers. So I decided to dive in trying to keep aside any form of prejudice.

Amish Tripathi has taken inspiration from the Hindu religion, the highly revered Hindu Gods and Scriptures and most of the characters are those which anyone familiar with the Indian culture and Hindu mythology can easily relate to. The review of the Trilogy is split in three parts. This post is dedicated to the first story.

Melhua

The first book – The Immortals of Meluha – is the story of a young Shiva and his discovery by the Suryavanshis as the “Neelkanth (one with the blue throat)” or Saviour. The initial setting is in Tibet where Shiva, a Tibetan Chieftain,  is “discovered” by Nandi – the Captain of the Meluhan Army who is from Meluha, which is on the south western side of the Himalayas. The story then proceeds to Devagiri, the capital of Meluha ruled by King Daksha. Meluha, originally founded by Lord Rama, is a perfect kingdom with perfect citizens who happen to be live almost forever – thanks to Somras,  which prevents them from aging. Shiva and his tribe are brought to Melhua and administered the Somras which results in Shiva’s throat turning blue confirming to the Meluhans that he is indeed the Neelkanth who has been sent to save all of them from the Chandravanshis – their arch enemies. Shiva also meets Sati, daughter of King Daksha, whom he falls in love with at first sight and relentlessly courts her despite her apparent disdain till she confesses her love for him and consents to marriage.

Shiva is taken to Mount Mandar situated close to the banks of the fabled river Saraswati , the site where the Somras is manufactured where he meets Brahaspati – the Chief Inventor. Brahaspati acknowledges Shiva as the Neelkanth without the excessive adoration and fawning of the Meluhans that Shiva has been tired of and both develop a strong bond. Further along the story, Mount Mandar is destroyed and Brahasapati is presumed to be amongst the fatal casualties. The Chandravanshis are the prime suspects to have committed the crime abetted by the Nagas (considered cursed by the Meluhans) since they always envied the Meluhans for the Somras. The book ends with Shiva being convinced that he indeed is the “Chosen One” to avenge Meluha and declares war against the Chandravanshis and helps the Meluhans win the battle.

I have deliberately outlined a very sketchy plot – don’t want this to be a spoiler for those who wish to read the books :)..

The book was  interesting and quite gripping. The treatment of the characters of Shiva, Nandi, Sati and the novelty of the Meluhan society was rather intriguing. Shiva is portrayed as a human initially unaware of his divinity. The plot is simple, straightforward, not too complicated.

What I found jarring was the language – am pretty sure the “swear words” used by the human Shiva were not used during that time period. The writing style is quite ordinary. The story is interspersed with Science lessons by Brahaspati which made me feel I was reading my school Science textbooks – at times I had to remind myself that the timeline of the story was hundreds and hundreds of years ago and not my school days!

All in all a good read, I completed reading the book in less than a day and was curious about what Amish had in store in this second book… More to come in just a bit 🙂

Rustic Marketplace – “Santhe” (in Kannada) or “Village Shandy”

Enroute to Madikeri from Bangalore, we made an unscheduled stop near a town alongside the state highway just before Hunsur – the reason was the bustling village shandy (village shopping center) which caught our eye.

I, being the complete city bred that I am, grabbed the opportunity of experiencing the “santhe” firsthand. I Unfortunately forgot to carry my digicam and had to make do with a few pics using my trusty old W705. I could capture just a few pictures since we were in a hurry to move on. With Mom and my aunt busy filling the shopping bag with all the farm fresh goodies, I surreptitiously clicked a few photos trying not to attract attention in that quaint market.

1. Makeshift shelters under which the hawkers sell their goodies

Image

2. The “Florists” 🙂

Image

3. Close up of Chrysanthemums – this is a slightly different variety compared to the one we commonly find in Bangalore.

Image

4. Array of spices..

Image

5. Veggies..

Image

6. I could not resist taking this pic – especially with the onion prices spirally upwards 😛

Image

7. Fancy some ginger garlic paste folks? 🙂

Image

I wish I had the time to explore it more and take some interesting pics… Hmm.. maybe next time..