The Game of Life; Shattered Dreams by Shubha Vilas – Old Wine Fresh Flavor

Title: Ramayana: The Game of Life – Book 2 (Shattered Dreams)
Author: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House

Ramayana the game of life reviewSecond in the Ramayana series (after Ramayana – The Game of Life: Rise of the Sun Prince), The Game of Life -Shattered Dreams starts from where the Book 1 had left.

While the Book 1 portrays the story of Rama’s birth and his rise as a virtuous man with high morals and philosophy that holds its relevance from the start to the end of the civilization, Shattered Dreams takes the tale of Ramayana forward to Rama’s exile.

As it would’ve happened millions and trillion years ago, Keikei en-cashes her two boons – exile to Rama and throne to Bharata – at the cost of Dasaratha’s death. Rama leaves for forest leaving all luxuries of a prince.

Laxamana, the dutiful brother, and Sita, the devoted wife, accompany him to the exile. Bharata returns and learns the course of events which heartbreak him. He curses the Keikei, apologizes to Kaushalaya, refuses the crown and decides to bring back Rama and hand him over the throne.

He in the company of Gurus, Matas and Praja reaches Rama’s abode in Chitrakoot and tries every trick and technique to convince Rama to come back but Rama who know the real purpose of his exile turns down his request. Unable to convince the Rama, Bharata vows to live like a hermit in Ayodhaya and install Rama’s padukas (Sandals and footwear as they call it in the book) on the throne.

Book 2 ends at Rama being ready to teach Raakshasas (evil spirits) a lesson, who are giving a real hard time to sages in the forest.

You must be thinking that I have revealed the story but it is something that must have been known to you now, thanks to numerous books, animation movies and TV serials that have been made on this epic.

But that doesn’t give you a reason to miss this book. In fact it is the reason you must read this. It’s a very good translation of one of the greatest epic, Ramayana, which is based on chronicles of Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu, who is also referred to as Maryada Purushottam meaning the Perfect Man or Lord of Self-Control or Lord of Virtue.

As far as I am concerned, I remember reading Ramayana in sixth class (Sankshipta Ramanyana) as a part of the curriculum and as I can recall it had mesmerized me completely. And I am glad to say that Shattered Dreams has mesmerized me no less.

Though there is nothing new in the story (for the good), the way it has been narrated takes me by surprise as it has beautifully captured the essence and expression of this great epic.

There are several translations of Ramayana available in the market. Though I haven’t read any of these but I must say Shubha Vilas’ version is a winning attempt as he hasn’t experimented much. He’s just kept it simple, picking the simple but sateek words using some good prose.

While reading it, I hated the Keikei as much I did as a sixth class student. The Bharata’s love and devotion Rama overwhelmed me as much it did long ago. Overall I loved it and if you are someone whom Indian mythology excites, you would love it too.
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