Thursday, April 25, 2019

Book Review - Draupadi - The Tale of an Empress by Saiswaroopa Iyer

It was Feb of 2017 when I first connected with Saiswaroopa. We were budding bloggers at that time, and we were organizing author interaction week. We wanted Saiswaroopa to appear in our event. Well, she was not able to join us but since then we are book-friends. We have already reviewed Abhaya & Avishi by Saiswaroopa. Her writing style is pure and simple. She won't flaunt about her literary skills, rather she concentrates more on storytelling. Since Avishi she always updated me about her upcoming books, so was the case with Draupadi. But due to some mismanagement, I didn't get a book on time. I patiently waited for more than 3 months. And after a long period, we got our hands on the book. We could have read and reviewed the book in a week but the financial year ending has delayed our reading/reviewing tasks. Well, it is always better late than never. So here we are discussing Draupadi - The Tale of an Empress by Saiswaroopa.


Book Blurb
Being born a princess, and raised by a loving father and three doting brothers would make life seem like a bed of roses to any woman. Born out of the sacred fire, Draupadi is no ordinary woman, and her destiny cannot be to walk the beaten path. Witnessing estrangement and betrayal within her own family makes her perceptive and intuitive beyond her years. Complicated marital relationships, a meteoric rise and a fateful loss, humiliation unheard of and a pledge of revenge, all culminating in a bloody war—her ordeal seemed never-ending. Yet she stands up to it all—never succumbing, never breaking. One of the most unforgettable characters of the Mahabharata, Draupadi shows what a woman is capable of. Told with great sensitivity and passion, this book brings alive a character of epic proportions that resonates with every reader across space and time.
Saiswaroopa has used a woman narrator for Draupadi's tale. Uttara - Rajmanat & daughter-in-law of Draupadi narrated the Mahabharata from Draupadi's point of view to her grandson Janamejaya. We all know the size of Mahabharata, which is considered the longest Epic in human literature. So the story portrayed in this 300 odd pages is strictly related to Draupadi. The story covers the following parts of Draupadi's life
  • Childhood of Draupadi in Panchala her relationship with his father & brothers. 
  • The initial tussle in her married life. Her Relationship with her husbands
  • Her role as emperor. How she managed her independence and her relationship with King Yudhisthira.
  • Her insult in court during - Vastraharan by Kauravas. 
  • Her role as a mother.
  • Finally her relationship with Krishna her friend, who had a special place in Draupadi's life even her husbands cannot take it.
As usual, Sai is good at writing woman-centric stories. You will understand what was the woman's point at that time while going through the pages. The original Mahabharata is either male-centric or neutral, where women were somewhat sidelined. But in this book, Draupadi is the protagonist and no one can outshine here character not even Krishna or Arjun.

Things that I liked
  • Awesome cover art. Just loved it. And Sai has selected or asked the cover designer to portray the image around the event which was the most prominent or most important in the history of Mahabharata
  • Awesome characterization. 
  • Loved the way Sai has shown, women in the story. They were warriors at par with men. Unlike other versions.
  • Easy and fluid language. You may not need to refer the dictionary often. Even beginners can read it easily
  • To the point narration. No nonsense content.
In short, if you would like to know the epic from other POV's, this one is from Draupadi. And it is a damn interesting one.

Ratings
  1. Cover - 5/5
  2. Concept - 4/5
  3. Character - 4.5/5
  4. Overall - 4.5/5
Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads
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