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Nature Sao Tome and Principe
Bhadraya Namaha, Ravanaya Namaha, Anandaya Namaha
Jul 06, 2013 10:16 PM 5663 Views



In the war between Devas and Asuras, Gods and Devils, it is ordinary citizens who suffer. In every war, the victors will write history and the failed ones will disappear without trace or pride, but the common man has to clean the waste created by them. Asura, Tale of the Vanquished tells such a story, of a commoner, who will later ponder, "What was life in this land without Gods (and Asuras) and their whims? The arms of the Gods caught up with my puny little life and shook it, squeezed it, and trampled on it, until the very last drop of blood oozed out."

A new world is been created by Anand Neelakantan in this exceptional novel. For the beginner, this is a dream start and Anand Neelakantan is a promise to Indian literature. Ravana wants to regain the lost glory of 'Mahabali' for the Asura empire. Bhadra, a commoner who want to revenge Devas for their atrocities during the Deva Asura war is keen to help Ravana in this task. Dramatically, he becomes the key for Ravana's success. Will the Asura king return some kindness to him or to his son? Will Devas show some mercy to this poor fellow?

The book starts exceptionally well and proceeds in good pace where story and thoughts go hand in hand literally in every chapter. Till reaching around 75 percent of the book, it was holding the stamp of 'classic' all over it. Then, in the final chapters the author tried to say too much to reduce the affect.

I was under the impression that the book is all about Ravana. Then the story is more of a commoner Bhadra, who is shuttled by Rakshasas and Devas of the world. Sure, Ravana took the central stage in most part of the novel but the hurried Rama episode becomes the climax, or say anti climax of the book.

Character creation is one of the hardest tasks and the base for success in any novel. This is more true for epics, especially if you are trying to change some of their nature or behaviour. In Asura, Anand Neelakandan succeeds in many and didn't that much in some. Characters of Ravana, Prahasta, Maricha, Vibhishna, Mandodari, Bhadra, Bali etc. are good examples of successful character creation. However, the author didn't do justice to Sita by not making her view point to the readers. Also, the characters of Meghanada, Kumbhkarna and Athikaya were not up to mark.

The author also succeed in creating dramatic situations and narrates them in minute details so that the reader can see the image while reading, a task only few mastered. Language used is quite good. Not difficult; not that simple. The author has a way for sarcasm and the book will witness many examples for that brilliance.

Lot of thoughts are been woven by the author in the novel where intellectual involvement of the reader is a must to enjoy it into full. This philosophical perspective takes the book a step above and as a side effect the readership may not be jumped like Shivaji Sawant's Mrityunjaya or MT Vasudevan Nair's Randamoozham. While I make these references let me say that with a bit of extra care Anand neelakantan was almost there, almost...still short of. In my view, the story must have stopped with the death of Ravana, from where it is been started. Instead, the author extended it to Sita's fate and also Badras which needed a complete novel length to do justice to the subject in hand.

There is no doubt that this novel is a very good read and I highly recommend it!

Few Quotes:

Money, caste, rituals, traditions, believes and superstitions all conspired together to crush the humble majority.

Couldn't the Brahmins conduct a puja so that our heads were cleared of sinful thoughts?

Stop playing a buffoon and be worthy of the ambition that burns in your heart

"What my predecessors had tried to do was to run a republic. They wanted democracy, where each man, like this bunch of idiots in front of me, decided the future of the nation. What such a race needed was a strong dictator. Mahabali tried to be one and failed. He was too soft to be a dictator."

Surely peace would be costly but the cost of war would be more.

Between glorious martyrdom and deceitful victory, I would always choose the second

Ultimately, the victories do not matter, not pride or glory, only survival matters - one's life and successors, the clan, race and language"

One can get used to anything, even embarrassment.

Children needed space to grow and it was difficult when their father was a huge Banyan tree. Nothing could grow beneath it.

The love of a father for his son is always one-sided.

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