Saturday, 13 August 2016

Shiva in the City of Nectar by Preetha Rajah Kannan: a review

It is said that “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Well, the line might be true but at times, you tend to judge a book by its cover only. There are books which instantly catch your attention and some do not catch the attention at all. When I received Preetha Rajah Kannan’s book Shiva in the City of Nectar, I couldn’t help but be surprised and awestruck at the beautiful cover that it has. A light green cover along with illustrations that are done to perfection brings this book alive and attracts the readers like anything. It was then that I turned the book to read the blurb of it.

According to the blurb- Throbbing with non-stop excitement, Shiva in the City of Nectar sweeps across Heaven, Earth and the Underworld, narrating the exploits of the mysterious and powerful blur throated God. One after another, the tales unfold the follies of ancient devas, asuras, sages and men and mythical beasts. And through them all, Shiva blithely takes on the guise of a beggar, saint, monarch, merchant, fisherman, hunter, warrior and woodcutter; walking through the three worlds to slay rampaging demons, perform his Dance of Bliss and embrace good and bad alike. Shiva is portrayed in is multi faceted mystique- the tender lover who woos and weds Goddess Meenakshi; the eternal Guru who dispenses wisdom; the fierce avenger whose third eye flashes fire; the generous benefactor who showers blessings on his devotees; and, above all, the gentle prankster who embodies the essence of Vedic faith.

I am sure of the fact that as much as I was mystified with the whole blurb, even you are. Trust me, the book as much more to offer. As I was leafing through the pages of the book, I couldn’t help but go back in time when I used to listen to all those mystic tales of the devas, asuras from my parents and family members. As a kid, I used to love those little stories and now having grown up; these books bring me back to my childhood. With a gleam in my eyes, I kept unfurling new and more interesting stories that are present in the book.

Narration wise, this book is very simple yet very interesting. People of all ages can read and understand the book. I will not go story wise but I would say that I was amazed by the way the authoress has written something so distinct from each other yet connected with a simple thread. This book can easily be as a token for the children of Gen Y with the help of which they would learn a lot about the tales that we all grown up listening to.

The book feels very good to hold, resulting in the fact that enhances the whole experience of reading. The simple thread that holds the book together is the prologue and the epilogue of the book which states why the book is written. I would rather say that the book serves as two types of reminders. One that says that fairy tales still do exist and the second that says there is a never an age to read about these fairy tales. Shiva is the greatest God of all time and that is proved to perfection in the book.

Coming to the cons of the book, there weren’t many. Or rather, there weren’t any. It was a very clean and well implemented book. I would take a moment here to say that for the readers who haven’t read or heard much about the Indian mythology would find it a bit difficult at first but they are sure to get a grasp at it. A book that takes time to read as you sit and savor every bit of it. There is also a glossary at the end of the book that makes sure you have everything that you need to read this book. 

For me, this must read book is 4.5 out of 5. I would’ve loved if the stories were written in a bit longer way rather than keeping them so crisp and short. Looking forward to reading more from the authoress in the future.

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