Title: “The Mahabharata Code- Yet another retelling of the Mahabharata, or is it?”
Author: Karthik K B Rao
Publisher: Notion Press
Price: 250 INR
Source: Goodreads Giveaway
‘The Mahabharata Code’ is a novel with a plot based on the Mahabharata- the great Indian Epic. It is a mixture of Fantasy, Science Fiction, Philosophical and Religious Fiction.
About the Author
Karthik Rao is a 32-year-old software professional based in Bangalore. He lives with his wife Sushma, parents and two little sons. He says that he gets to meditate close to three 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.
So, a Retelling or what?
The story basically follows Narayan Rao, who is working with NASA. NASA is working on a mission to send their astronomers on a planet, from where they have received some signals. On reaching that planet, they meet a person, named Vyasa, who strangely enough, looks exactly like a normal human being and not like some alien. He can even talk perfectly in English.
Vyasa shares with them his plan of restaging the whole Mahabharata on that planet, called Prithvilok, in which he seeks their help. Well, yes! Its called Prithvilok & it belongs to some galaxy called Coffeeway Galaxy. Now this is something that I found really ridiculous & disappointing too. Couldn’t the author come up with some different names?
The various incidents of the Mahabharata start taking place as planned by Vyasa & his master, Mahadev. Vyasa has access to some high tech gadgets. Mahadev has provided him with some special weapons that respond to a particular person’s voice or work only with the bio metrics of some specific person. They have the technology of cloning and test tube babies with them since long. All these things- the Sci-Fi elements, help them in restaging the several episodes from the Mahabharata.
Alongside the author tells about Narayan Rao’s journey in India, before he takes up this mission for NASA. In India, he meets Srishti, who accompanies him to that planet. Though the author claims this story be Narayan’s personal account, Srishti emerges as a more insightful character. The two get married before leaving for the mission & their son- born at Prithvilok, plays the role of Krishna.
The novel proceeds as several chapters from the Mahabharata unfold on Prithvilok. In between we are taken back to earth, where we see Narayan seeking answers to several question related to his identity & existence. However, he, along with the readers, gets his answers only in the ending.
Before I start mentioning all the stupid things that I found in this novel, let me state that I’m not a fan of Fantasy & Sci-Fi. In fact, I kinda hate them because I feel whats the fun of reading something that is not possible at all, or at least in near future. So, I’m not the right person to review any book of this genre. But I’ll still offer my views.
From the mere idea of the restaging to the different explanations offered for different incidents, I found everything to be insane. The worst of all was the idea of going to a planet, several light years far from the earth, in a special aircraft in which one would not age more than 10 years.
The way the different scenes from the Mahabharata have been staged did not excite me at all. I was even considering to DNF (Do Not Finish) this book. But I decided to move ahead and I regret to have proceeded with this book. It becomes extremely unbearable at some moments. I had no idea what the author wanted to convey with this stupid plot. Perhaps, that is why I kept reading, i.e. to find out the author’s motive.
I did find his motive in the last part of the book but I didn’t find it impressing too. From the unexciting fantasy elements to the boring religious incidences (without any change from the actual ones), reading this book was like a punishment where you have to write a paragraph again and again from a boring book.
The writing style was not engaging at all. The Point of View keeps shifting from one character to another. The book ends with an unexpected twist, but that twist further aggravated me. I feel the weakness of the book lies in its plot itself because we Indians are so well acquainted with the epic that we find it boring to read about it again, while expecting something new.
The author has just presented his own philosophy or his own views on the secret behind this world. And he must be commended for his wonderful imagination. That the book failed to amuse me is a completely different matter. But the sheer idea behind the book is quite amusing. The book has been rated well in different platforms, so its possible that one might enjoy it.
I admit that Fantasy & Sci-Fi are not the genres of my liking. But I certainly know that this not what a good Fantasy is like. I enjoyed reading ‘Alice’s Adventures in the Wonderland’ and it is only in the end that I was disappointed. And to be very blunt, this book was not even 10% of Alice’s Adventures… . I’m not going to read any book by the author in future.
My Rating: ** (1.5/5)
Do you think you would have liked this book? Do I sound too rude? Do share your thoughts. Thanks.