Pardon the essay, but I need to do loads of justice to this “must read” book – “must read” for those who have enjoyed the Ramayana Series by Banker!
Ten years have passed since Rama did the unthinkable and banished Sita. Now, she spends her days in quiet tapasya in the remote forest ashram of Maharishi Valmiki, even as her sons Luv and Kush grow ever more proficient at the arts of war. To the sorrow of many, they seem unlikely to ever cross paths with their estranged father. Yet destiny works in unexpected ways. Rama’s growing ambitions and his war-mongering advisors motivate him to launch the Ashwamedha yojana. The mightiest Ayodhyan army ever assembled follows the sacred stallion in a campaign of conquest that seems unstoppable until a pair of improbable obstacles arise. Defying the military might of Ayodhya and the emperorship of Rama himself, two young striplings capture the Ashwamedha horse and challenge the great army. To Rama’s chagrin the challengers turn out to be none other than his own estranged offspring: the sons of Sita! Don’t miss the epic conclusion to the internationally acclaimed and bestselling Ramayana Series!
If I could ever create my own personal library, I can bet you my last buck, that at least 2 of the shelves would be filled with books by Ashok Banker!! That just about sums up my review about this book. However I can’t stop right here, considering that a) WordPress gives me loads of space to post and b) Once I start talking about something I love I can’t stop! 🙂
We have all heard about what happened after Sita was banished into exile; she had twin sons and then somewhere along the way they had a tearful family re-union with Rama and lived happily ever after – Bollywood style! Now, what exactly happened during the years of exile? Where did Sita live and what did she do? What were her sons up to and how exactly did they reunite with their father and Ayodhya? And did the story really end with a happily ever after? The answers to all this and more are detailed in Banker’s style of story telling – a style that makes a reader think that they would be doing something wrong by putting down the book even for a moment once they have started 🙂
What I liked about Sons of Sita:
Rama – What changed Rama?
Ayodhyan politics – Reminds me of Indian politics and current day corporates!!
A new avatar of Rama is presented in this tale of Sita and her sons; the reader is introduced to a Rama who lives strictly by the code of Dharma even at the risk of his actions and decisions bordering on tyranny. A king consumed by the thoughts, ideals and advises of his war mongering ministers Jabali and Bhadra, so much so that his own brothers and fellow Ayodhyan heirs are suspected to be possible enemies of the state! Ayodhya has transformed into a well oiled state corrupted by power, politics and other vile practices in the decade that Rama was crowned King and Sita banished to exile! Convinced by his greedy ministers who manipulate the code of Dharma to suit their political ambitions, Rama sets about to do the Ashwamedha yagna ; the yagna that would make him the emperor of all Aryavarta! But at what cost? Especially when the nuances of the yagna have been designed to ensure that Ayodhya wins at any cost. The yagna starts with the Ayodhyan troops massacring the peaceful ashram of Valmiki leaving few survivors; the important ones including lady Vedavati, her twin sons and her friend Nakhudi. But why was an ashram located in the midst of no-mans land targeted in the first place and will the remaining inmates including sage Valmiki live to tell the tale?
The Twins, Luv and Kush – 2 bodies but 1 soul
The twin sons of Rama and Sita have been portrayed as the sweetest little boys that could have walked this earth. A combination of innocence, talent,intelligence,courage, mischief and love for the outdoors, they fancy themselves to be Robin Hoods of the jungle! All is well until they tame the sacred horse that seems to be more than happy to follow them around. From here on it’s a race to the finish as Ayodhyan troops massacre their peaceful ashram and the lads along with the remaining inmates take it upon themselves to protect their world. Readers cannot miss how the twins seem to be another version of Ram and Lakshman right from their prowess with the bow and arrow to the bond that they share. The chapters that detail the courage that they display as a 2 man army while preparing and battling a barbaric army of 1000’s is amazing! Will the lovable vagabonds take their place as rightful heirs to the throne of Ayodhya?
Sita – Once a warrior princess, always a warrior princess
A loyal wife, a loving mother and a formidable warrior princess! That’s Sita for you – definitely not the mopey/dopey types that we find in the movies and serials! Even after a decade of exile, she manages to retain the spirit of a Kshatriya women and fights along with her sons and best friend Nakhudi to defend the ashram from the Ayodhyan army. The scene where she meets Rama is very memorable. She forgives him in a blink, proving that there have been no changes in her feelings for him. However things take a turn for the worse when she is ordered to do another agni pariksha in the name of Dharma. The chapter which details what happens next is something I will remember for a long time, for I almost had tears in my eyes while this scene played out in my head…
End of the Ramayana series
So did Rama and his sons live happily ever after? Not really… This version of Ramayana ends with Rama and his brothers entering voluntary Samadhi or eternal sleep while Luv and Kush take over the reigns of Ayodhya under the able guidance of Nakhudi and his queen mothers. I was also made aware of the fact that this particular avatar of Vishnu was actually 4 avatars roled into 1 – each of the avatars being Rama, Lakshman, Bharath and Shatruhan. What’s more is that Banker has cleverly set the scene for the Krishna series with the last chapter..There is more but I don’t want to spoil your surprise 🙂 And what better way to end a book other than visualizing Vishnu mounting Garuda to return home to his beloved Sri and best friend Anantha in the midst of the Ocean of milk? “It has been long” says Vishnu……and I agree. A fitting finale to a long, edge of the seat journey of reading Banker’s Ramayan series.
P.S – I am actually considering giving the “vengeance of Ravana” another chance after reading this book…I just couldn’t get past the first few pages when I tried to read it before!