Thursday, March 24, 2016

'The Palace of Illusions' - A review


a) Draupadi alias Paanchali

b) Five Pandavas

c) Dhai Ma

d) Sage Vyasa

e) 101 Kauravas: Important: Duryodhana and Dushasana

f) Dronacharya, Ashwattama

g) Dhrishtadyumna, King Drupad

h) Bheeshma

i) Others: Satyavati, Dhritirashtra, Pandu, Shikhandi, Gandhari, Kunti, Madri

Plot or Summary

The story revolves around a woman who was born in a world of men, politics and war and vengeance. Narrated by Draupadi, the wife of the five Pandavas, The Palace of Illusions gives a woman’s take on the timeless tale of Mahabharata. Tracing the life of the fire princess from her exquisite birth through her lonely childhood and her marriage and motherhood, this book unravels secrets of Paanchali’s life.

About the Protagonist

Draupadi, was, is and will be one of the strongest personalities in the world of women. Stumbling upon the threshold of her womb i.e. the fire pit from which she emerged, Princess Paanchali was first named as Draupadi to be signified as the ‘Unwanted One.’ Trudging through her quite and cold childhood, her only companions in times of her solitude were her brother, Prince Dhrishtadyumna and her nanny Dhai Ma.

Reaching adulthood, she reaches out to a world beyond her imagination, a world where she works hard to keep up with. With many tragic turns in her life and formation of unexpected relations, Draupadi causes the biggest and bloodiest war in history of Aryavratta, piping up to her destiny of changing the future of her country.

About the Author

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (born Chitralekha Banerjee, 1956[1]) is an Indian-American author, poet, and the Betty and Gene McDavid Professor of Writing at the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. Her short story collection, Arranged Marriage won an American Book Award in 1995, and two of her novels (The Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart) as well as a short story The Word Love were adapted into films. Mistress of Spices was short-listed for the Orange Prize.

Divakaruni's works are largely set in India and the United States, and often focus on the experiences of South Asian immigrants. She writes for children as well as adults and has published novels in multiple genres, including realistic fiction, historical fiction, magical realism, and fantasy.

My Opinion

The best and appreciable part of the book is that the author has understood the complexity of Paanchali’s relationships and has put it down in a manner which can be understood by all, for example, the enigmatic relation between Draupadi and Krishna. Also, the author has empathized Draupadi’s situation and conditions with such precision and depth that the most probable secrets of Krishnaa’s (aka Draupadi) life have been unraveled, the biggest being her secret love for Karna who had as much right as Pandavas had to marry her.

Last Note

I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the author for producing such delicate yet strong literature. I would also like to give my gratitude to my teacher for arranging this interesting activity which led add a number of new books to my list and also air my view about this book.

- Ashritha B.R. (Student at Rasadhwani)