Secret of the Nagas

Side profile of a man standing in water and holding a snake in his left hand, which has its head raised towards the front. The man’s face is in shadow, but his throat appears bright blue in color. He wears a tiger skin and on his shoulder, scars are visible.“Mahadev” – the Lord of Lords – anyone can be one – at least that was the idea Shiva throws in – while the lesser mortals – though sozzled with the “somras”, went on a witch hunt in a Kingdom they thought was consumed by Sin. The Meluhans attack Swadeep….with chants of “Everyone is Mahadev” (Har Har Mahadev!) – on entering the Chandravanshi kingdom – Shiva is taken by surprise – even the Chandravanshis awaited Him. The last book ends in war and Shiva chasing a Naga to save Sati.

The exuberance of the previous book’s ending, raised an expectation – Amish would bring in resounding imagery of the saga of Shiva yet again in the second of the trilogy. What has it done to me? It made me impatient. I HAD to read the book as in NOW – and so I did. Bought the book within a week of release and reading it in 5 hrs flat !! Its a different story (a lazy one) that I wrote the review later. The book is fast paced – though there are places where the adventures drag, however, they are an essential part of the book.

Looking back at the book – There are several pages on Shiva’s retrospection, a large section is on the journey from Kashi to Panchvati and of course the crux of the book – the revelation of the Nagas!! The secret is endearing and so well bound in Indian mythology and the human-ness of Gods! The stories are well connected !! There is a fantastic interweaving of our Indian mythical folklore and a fictional world – where mortals are made immortals (thanks to Somras – wish there was one such possible), the deformed are either terminated or ostracized, powerful people conspire, secrets are closely guarded, and yes there is playful lust too ! (yeh kahaani bahut filmi hai!!).

Several Characters get introduced in this part – Kali, Sati’s deformed sister, Ganesh, Sati’s deformed first born, Kartik, her second son and Shiva’s first. So while we all have lived on the fact that Shiva in a state of anger kills Ganesh and Brahma revives him using the head of an elephant – this book brings a much more human angle to the Elephant God. He was born deformed with a face of an elephant!!

My analysis: Was this a side affect of the Somras? Even Sati was administered the Somras when she was pregnant with Ganesh. So does the somras have negative side effect on some genes? Even the blue throat – “Neelkanth” – was a side effect of the somras, when it was administered on Shiva (in the first book)!! Or was it genetic – Sati’s sister Kali was also born deformed – Sati was not….so stories made more interesting. Maybe a book on analogies would be next.

A lot of time is spent in travelling – that is where the book starts to get waylaid a bit. So there is this time spent in making Ships to travel to Branga, and then to a jungle where we encounter a Vasudev turned bandit named Parshuram. This is yet another smart reference to our Hindu Mythology of Vishnu’s avatars. So the travel time is long – somehow kept interesting with interspersed parallel stories running, but I guess some more pages could have been spent on the characters!! The secrets have been revealed strategically, and some of the revelations come deep in the story.

A reference to the next book in the trilogy is subtly made – Vayuputra’s – sons of the Wind God is it?

Another thing I noticed about these books by Amish – they are very script-like – with a flavour and hint of someone picking the movie rights to these. These IIMs and IIT grads seems to have this thing in common. Very business like !! Coincidentally, while I write about this, there are rumours that Karan Johar will make this into a movie. So will we see Shahrukh as Shiva, – (how will he enact the Nataraj dance?), Kareena as Sati and Kali (a double role??), a medley of songs, amidst heartbreak and sobs??

Hey Mahadev!!??


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