The Book Review
Yada yada hi dharmasya glanirbhavati bharata
Abhythanamadharmasya tadatmanam srijamyaham
Paritranaya sadhunang vinashay cha dushkritam
Dharmasangsthapanarthay sambhabami yuge yuge
Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4 ,Verse 7-8.
(The English Translation)
Whenever there is a decay in righteousness,
And there is exaltation of unrighteousness, then I , Myself come forth ;
For the defense of the good, for the demolition of evil-doers,
For the sake of firmly establishing righteousness, I am born from age to age.
This sloka has been my cult favourite since the days of B R Chopra’s Mahabharat. Books based on Mahabharat have always intrigued me .But most of them nowadays are about the spinning of that same wheel, except Devdutt Pattanaik’s Jaya and Shashi Tharoor’s The Great Indian Novel.
I have been conducting my Mphil thesis on Indian Science Fiction ,thus I am bit acquainted with most of the writings on this genre.Rao’s The Mahabharata Code has been running out of supply owing to its high demand. I wanted to go through it.
The book begins with lots ambiguity and like a master storyteller Karthik Rao unravel the complex mesh of the plot..well it gets much more interesting onwards.
The cover design has been an elegant masterpiece.I have an weakness for such brilliant piece of art.The narration has been reasonably fast paced and Rao manages to keep his readers to the edge.The anecdotes are top notch and the philosophy are never too loud to digest.You will relish the book with a witty smile on your lips. Rao provides the setting of science fiction and transport all the readers to the world of a Nasa Scientist Narayan Rao . The plot thickens with the encounter of Narayan with a mysterious Gandalf styled person who wants to recreate the Mahabaharat.
The characters have been skillfully carved out of the ancient discourse of the great Indian epic and moulded into a futuristic setting of space science fiction. Special mention about the schemer and the scripter of the epic Ved Vyasa. I have always thought that Ved Vyasa remained only a partial character in the epic ,but here he is in full authority of the novel.
You cannot ignore his brilliance as a master conniver. You will feel allied to characters like Shrishti and Holy Hades. Krishna in Tharoor’s narration was a Keralian youth and one of the most weakest in the novel .I was bit skeptical about Rao’s characterization of Krishna ,well you have to go through the book to find out whether he is as mighty as the Gudakesh of the original Mahabharat ,who promises to appear again and again where there will be the domination of evil upon earth or he is just a mere wager in the great plan of Vyasa ?(refer to the sloka at the top)
Watch out for the brilliant scientific conceptualization about the impotency of Arjun and well you cannot ignore the game of dice..(sssh the dice can operate only through the voice command of our favourite Shakuni Mama ).You have read the epics and come across many uncomfortable questions..well the authors provide some witty explanation.
I am waiting for somewhat different piece of Science Fiction from the talented author Karthik Rao.Keep it up Mr Rao.Well after Samit Basu , I can see a master story teller of Science Fiction in Indian English Literature.
1.Perfect Cover design
3.Excellent plot execution.
4.Nirbhaya Shot and Electronic Dice.
5.The modern setting.
6.Krishna and Ved Vyasa were top notch creations.
7.Simple and hilarious.
1.Those boring conversation between Narayan and Shrishti.
2.Time to delve into something more innovative.
Rating – 4.5 out of 5
THE MAHABHARATA CODE
“The Mahabharata Code is a personal account of the main protagonist Narayan Rao (NR), who claims to be an astronomer with NASA. NR and a few other crew members agree to take part in the NASA mission to visit this mystery planet from which they had received mysterious signals. Here, they meet a man with a long flowing white beard, and he introduces himself as Vyasa. He reveals that he has a crazy plan in mind and seeks NR and his members’ help in implementing this plan. He intends to recreate the entire Mahabharata on this planet to restore the faith of the primitive simpletons here.
As the Mahabharata incidents start unfolding, NR realizes that Vyasa intends to recreate them page by page here, if not paragraph by paragraph. Also NR begins to realize that his son, Krishna, who is being groomed by Vyasa as Vishnu’s avatar, is nothing more than a pawn in Vyasa’s scheme of things. Other incidents of Mahabharata also unfold according to the original epic. Pandavas and Kauravas grow up hating each other and finally the restaging plan culminates with both the warring sets of cousins facing each other in the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
Inexplicably, like the original epic, Arjuna develops cold feet seeing his own cousins, teachers and relatives on the opposite side. He seeks Krishna’s divine intervention. Is the brainwashed “alien” Krishna prepared for this intervention?”
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About the author
Karthik K.B. Rao
Karthik Rao is a 32-year-old software professional based in Bangalore. He lives with his wife Sushma, parents and two little sons Kaustubh Krishna and Raghav Krishna aged 4 and 1, respectively. He says, he gets to meditate close to 3 hours every day on his bike thanks to the notorious Bangalore traffic. His hobbies include following cricket, Indian politics on the social media and Indian mythology. He also plays plastic ball cricket with his sons.
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