It has been a while that I lay my hands on something which matches my mindset. To tell the truth, I have been brought up in a very orthodox brahmin household where God was everything. We literally grew up thinking that HE is our family member. For me it was not very clear till recently, but my sister was and is a staunch devotee of lord Vishnu. I wasn’t the bhakta of a type, but I used to read a lot and interpret books related to mythology my way. Ranjan and His Many Lives was a sort of an eye opener.
Ranjan and his many lives brought back my childhood and in a way adulthood too. Ranjan’s contemplation with god (or his own self) are something we go through everyday at every point in life. His understanding of Bharathi’s songs and mythological stories (especially Mahabharata and thus Geeta) is impeccable. Understanding is not enough sometimes; it is also important to pen it down for others to know. When they say Geeta, Bible or Quran, people step back and think before they could decode it. Prakash Balasubramanian has done his best while decoding many stories and instances in Mahabharata. His perception about different stories gives you a better outlook of the contemporary world.
Ranjan’s Contemplation and the ability to relate it to different situations in Mahabharata and other stories in Indian Mythology is a unique way to connect the ethos of ancient society to the modern world. As we go back with him, we also see that those values are still applicable at every step of our lives.
A well to do family and a poor but upcoming family is neatly portrayed by the author. Being in Chennai from the last 10 years I could see all the scenes as they were narrated in front of my eyes. Amma and Appa, Tara, her kids, Lekha, Kanagamma all of them are effortlessly portrayed.
I lost my Mom to cancer, so despite the will to live, I am not sure what happened to Ranjan. The author has wisely left the end of the story to be interpreted by the reader.
A very nice and easy read with italics for Ranjan’s Conversations.
I give the book 4/5.
You can get the book here.