Epic Understanding. Finally!

I read a new book.

For a long time now, it’s been artcles and magazines online. It felt so good to feel a physical book again. I’ve been trying so hard to finish reading at least one book, and I’ve been repeatedly failing. But this one was different. I could sense it as soon as I started it.

It’s a work of fiction. From a novice writer; Kavita Kane. It’s “Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen.” And it’s a nice book.

Karna's Wife - The Outcast's Queen

It’s longer than “Immortals of Meluha,” and I can’t help but instinctively compare the two. Comparing in the sense, not as in ‘compare and contrast the stories of…’ (Phew! How glad I am that I’m not in high school) It’s more of musing of how similar both of these novels are.

“Immortals of Meluha,” the first book of the Shiva Trilogy was a fictitious account of the life of Shiva. Whereas this one is a fictitious account of the life of a warrior’s wife.

“Karna’s Wife” is self explanatory. It’s about Karna’s second wife, Uruvi. The whole story is spun from her point of view, but we get a glimpse of the elder wife, Vrushali, and her seven sons. And I didn’t even know Karna was married in the epic! (I like and know of Karna only because of a movie that portrayed him well. And that movie said nothing about Karna’s wives.) The title itself came as a shock, but the story steadily got better.

I also got to know the background story of the Mahabharath. It was the epic I never understood. Yes, I didn’t make too much effort to understand it, but the Ramayana was much simpler.

With a hundred brothers on one side and a quintet (they don’t sing, by the way) on the other, the Mahabharath is a battle of cousins. The “good” predictably wins, but it depends on your perception of good.

It’s a twisted tale. Where the good warrior (Karna) sides with the evil Duryodhana just because he is his friend. Karna knows well that Duryodhana will exploit his brilliant archery skills against the mighty talented opposition. But nothing falters his affection for Duryodhana. Not even the knowledge that he’d walk into Death in the war. Because, Duryodhana was the only person to give Karna the respect he deserved. (Everyone else abhored Karna because they thought he was of a low birth and was not worthy of being a Kshathriya (a warrior))

Ah, the friendship is supposed to make you tear. And even if you know it’s stupid of Karna, you will feel the sadness when he dies.

That’s how great epics work. And the author has captured it well. It was good enough for me.

The more I read about writing, the more I recognized the too many adjectives in the novel. Perhaps I use a lot of adjectives too, but I realised it only while I read the book.

That’s a lesson for me to take as well.

Coming back, “Karna’s Wife” will keep you hooked if you like to know the Mahabharath story. But of course it’s fiction and will contradict with a lot of other versions of the Mahabharath. Overall, this is a good book to read on a lone Saturday afternoon.

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