Book Title:The Pregnant King
Author: Devdutt Pattanaik
Published By: Penguin books
Price : Rs 299
Rating: 3 out of 5
Source : Personal copy
Set up during the time of Mahabharatha, King of Vallabhi Yuvanashva, is unable to join forces in war because he is childless,Inspite of being born as a king., he is unable to rule because he has no son..Worst part he has three wives.His mother Shilavati who rules the kingdom as a governor and not as a king because she is not a man.. All this takes place in a kingdom with the main deity who lives like a man for 14 days and as a woman for the rest of the days of the month..What happens when the king drinks a magic potion meant for his wives to make them pregnant forms the rest of the story...
In Hindu mythology theres a story about Mandatri who was born from his father Yuvanshva..This forms the basic canvas for Pattanaik who adds colours building up a wonderful portrait through his novel "The pregnant King".
It was the title that made me to pick up the book..I loved the cover and after reading the book I assume that the woman on top is the mother and queen Shilavati..Below is son Yuvanashva with the magic pot in his hand, on both side are his sons and down are his three wives (correct me if I am wrong)..All human emotions of happiness, pleasure, desperation, empathy, love, sacrifice, duty, responsibility is well established through various characters throughout the story..Shilavati mother of Yuvanashva rules Vallabhi trying to do justice to her role as a regent yet being a good mother whenever a need arise, planning for son's future as a king and making a good man in him imbibing aristocratic thoughts and style.Three queens Simantini (by Swayamvara), Pulomi (bought for three hundred bullocks and a dozen bulls) and Keshni (Daughter of a potter to bear the king's child)..The friendship between the three sharing their husband's and the way they look at life and their husband is also good to read ... The myth and old tradition where the story of Mahabharatha run side by side is interesting...There are old hymns, culture and lifestyle, society's hierarchy portrayed that may not go well with many readers but for me who loved to watch Ramayana and Mahabharatha when I was a kid in Doordharshan was a total delight..Old society's constraint is well built in the novel..Through the story Pattanaik raises many questions such what is dharma, whats right and wrong..Characters like Pruthlashva ., Yuvanashva's grandfather who doesn't want to be a king, Shilavati ., Yuvashnva's mother who cannot rule the kingdom are well done.. The plots of Mahabharata where Pandava lose their Kingdom in the play of dice, the consecutive events undressing Draupadi in front of the whole court form as apart of gossip in Vallabhi is amusing..
Pattanaik, has taken few liberty to play around with the actual epic adding few characters along Mahabharata makes it all an interesting read...I love Indian mythology and so I really liked it, though I wouldn't read it over and over again..What I liked most is Pattanaik uses myth to answer questions of dharma....
This is my first entry to the book challenge New author challenge that makes 1 out of 10