Review: Ramayana: The Game of Life – Book 4: Stand Strong

Ramayana: The Game of Life – Book 4: Stand Strong Ramayana: The Game of Life – Book 4: Stand Strong by Shubha Vilas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“...the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again.

That is their mystery and their magic.”
― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

The Ramayana is the greatest epic ever told (at least one of those). This is my second book of this series. The first book I read was “The Stolen Hope”. I liked that immensely review of which can be found here:
this is just the extension of story which now moves to Rishimukh Parbat where Ram meets Hanuman (Kishkindha Kaand). Whatever I said in the previous review applied to this too.

The story is great because everyone knows it but still a brief outline. Sugriva is hiding in Rishimukh mountain beause of his brother Bali. Then Ram and Lakshman comes that side and he sends Hanuman to find out who are they. Ram befriends Sugriva and kills Bali. The book ends with Hanuman running towards Mahendra Parbat.

The book tells Ramayana and stays true to the original most of the time. The footnotes are life lessons which is derived from the story itself. Some of these are reproduced below:

1. A mature person knows how to neglect disrespect toward oneself and take very seriously disrespect towards others.
2. Luxuries are of concern only when basic needs are met, and basic needs itself are of concern only when need for mental peace is met.
3. Responsibility appears like a cage, but it sets the bird of self-growth free.
4. A fearful person is like a paralyzed person.
5. Where power ends, responsibility begins.
One question which is often asked “why Rama killed Vali from hiding?”. The author tries to answer it by saying that Vali is an animal and Rama is a hunter. The hunter (men) decide the rules and not the hunted. Also, Vali was wrong by laying eyes on Ruma and trying to kill Sugriva. So, Rama was justified in killing him. I am not convinced by the reasoning.

One more drawback is that the interpretation given in footnotes and in boxes are good but they impede the enjoy of reading. The acts as speed breakers and slows down the reading. It would have been better that they would have been given in the running narrative.

Keeping in view the overall reading 4/ 5 stars.

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