Mahabharata, the great Indian epic, is mostly talked about for its eminent gruesome and bloody war. Whether it is the scheming Kauravas or the struggling and principled Pandavas, the attention always seems to be on these two sides battling against each other. The women of the Mahabharata have always been side-casted and are given very little importance in general. Quite recently, more and more authors are focusing on the femme fatale of this epic. Meenakshi Reddy’s new series, “Girls of the Mahabharata” is a remarkable one that you need to watch out for. With the first book released, the story focuses on Satyavati, daughter of the fishermen’s king and her crucially important role in the plot of Mahabharata.
The book starts with a young Satyavati, scorned by her adoptive mother and encouraged by her father to engage King Shantanu in a conversation and catch his eye. We travel through the past and the present scenarios through each successive chapter and get a clear idea of Satyavati’s personality. This young and distraught girl, who had a remarkable fish-like smell, evolves into an attractive and brave lady to accomplish the major task that she was destined to do. And how she goes on to achieve that, is a story to behold. Satyavati’s character is sure to inspire many young female readers and her inherent qualities of courage and straightforwardness are highly admirable. We are finally able to see her point of view when she makes that cruel yet determined request to King Shantanu and Prince Devavrata, later known as Bheesma, promises to never marry or bear children.
Generally, we assume that a book on mythology would have a very serious tone or be a little difficult to comprehend but this book is a really light read and I finished it within two hours, which evidently proves that it was much of a page-turner. With a dash of funny banter between Satyavati and her younger brother, Chiro, and the mystery around the heroine’s search for her lineage, Reddy has composed an entertaining read that also touches the topic of feminism in a beautiful way.
If you are new to mythology and are looking for something to help you dip your feet into this genre, then The One Who Swam With The Fishes is a wonderful read to begin with.
Publisher : Harper Collins
Pages : 152
Format : Paperback
Rating : 4 / 5
You can get the book here.