Book 2 of the Ram Chandra series: Sita-Warrior of Mithila released exactly two years after the release of the first book Scion of Ikshavaku. Author has said to use the hyperlink narrative technique to write the series. So the first three books will start from the beginning and will have a common ending but the story will be told from the three different character’s perspective. These characters are Ram, Sita and Ravan.
All these sounds so exciting and interesting. But when I actually started reading the book Sita: Warrior of Mithila it was like the same story that of Scion of Ikshavaku. Both Ram and Sita were born in bizarre time period and none of them were popular among the masses. It is through sheer character and their benevolent measures that they rose in popularity. Both lives were in danger. And after swayamvarboth books had almost the same story line. I seriously feel that there was absolutely no need of two books. Ram and Sita’s stories could have been easily merged into one book. At least it could have saved repetitive.
I remembered reading Twilight by Stephanie Meyer from Edward’s point of view Midnight Sun. The storyline and plots for both the books Twilight and Midnight Sun were same but details were completely different. Latter was from the point of view of a Vampire. So it was as good as reading a new book. Amish has also tried to do same thing for Scion of Ikshavaku and Sita Warrior of Mithila but both the books appears to be same.
The story line of the third book Raavan – Orphan Of Aryavarta is so predictable now and I guess an analogy could be drawn were rise of Ravan would be similar to rise of Taliban in Afghanistan who were supported by USA in order to curb the rising power of USSR. Here in the third book USA and USSR could be represented by Malayaputras and Vayuputras respectively. Malayaputras supported Ravan in order to control Vayuputras. Now Ravan has become a menace created by the egos of two sage, threatening their own authority. Well it is just a guess.
So coming back to second book, though both the books are written in the similar line but Sita Warrior of Mithila is better plotted then Scion of Ikshavaku. The scenes and episodes are interesting to read though the similarity couldn’t be overlooked. Character of Sita also develops much better than that of Ram. In Scion of Ikshavaku, Ram has been seen obsessed with laws and rules and it was tiring to read. But Sita is more liberal and open to various philosophies and theories. Her character is far more balanced and impressive than that of Ram’s.
Amish in lieu to make Sita’s character strong had completely sidelined or weaken other characters like that of Janak, Urmila and Guru Vishwamitra. Janak acted like a retired philosophical king, Urmila as a weak sibling and Vishwamitra like an ordinary sage. In fact arguments which Ram gives to Sita for not following him in forest in Ramcharitmanas were given to Urmila by Sita. Sometimes I fail to connect with Sita’s character. Her alliance to Ram seems to be her masterplan and not a coincidence, so were her meetings with Ram before marriage. Everything was planned.
Sita’s character in our epic is in no way weak or docile or homely. I think it is a misinterpretation of her character. Tulsidas’s Sita has a will of steel which even Ravan find it difficult to budge and a mind of her own. She single-handedly raised two children and took her own decisions. Sita is no way weak. Amish has added one extra feature of skilled warrior in her character.
I failed to understand the time period the book follows. Why on Earth, Amish kept using the terms like India, surgical strike, Hans for Hanuman, Vyomkesh, the fictional detective. Com’on give me a break now. The author could have easily set his Ramayana in modern times if he is so keen to introduce these terms or current burning issues in his novel. Then it could have been more relevant.
It might be a well written book but personally, Amish’s Ramayana as a whole fails to impress. I just couldn’t connect with the story line. For me Ramayana is all about warmness and love and family bonding and relationship. This is the real essence of Ramayana which is clearly missing in Amish version of Ramayana. There were some touching scenes in the book but they were like oasis in the dessert.
Amish’s formula of writing fantasy tales of mythological characters worked very well in case of Shiva Trilogy but the magic lacks in Ram Chandra series as original Ramayana is perfectly etched in the mind and heart of people and Amish’s crappy imagination doesn’t arouse similar feelings.