Ayyo Rama ! Chori pakdi gayi

Last week, I came face to face with the unsavoury and ugly side of blogging. I became the target of an orchestrated effort at harassment or cyber bullying because I dared to post an unflattering review of I, Rama: The Age of Seers by Ravi Venu. Among other things, I got accused of:

  • not having read the book at all,
  • author bashing,
  • Kutram kandu pidithe peyar vangum pulavar or seeking fame by means of pointing out or capitalising on other people’s mistakes,
  • writing a bad review with a catchy title for getting more traffic on my site,
  • being cynical and nit-picky to the point of exaggeration,
  • forcing my views on others.

And oh ! I also got called a hot-shot blogger/writer/reviewer. But since the tone was sarcastic, I can safely assume that the commenter did not mean what she said. 🙂 But I am getting ahead of myself, and as with all narrations please allow me to begin at the beginning.

Last Tuesday, I woke up feeling a little sleep deprived and, therefore, grumpy. The reason? I had stayed up past midnight to to finish writing and posting my review of I, Rama. The book, in very polite terms, was not up to the mark and I had struggled to finish reading it, and then write its review. Of course, it would have been perfect if I did not have to write a review at all, but since I had received the book as part of the Blog Adda Book Review programme, I had to write one.

A shower, a mug of coffee and a hearty breakfast took care of the grumpiness, and soon I was on my way to work. My 30-minute commute had me mentally reviewing my workload for the day and think about the review that I had posted. But, once I reached office, it was only thoughts of work and with my usual cheerful frame of mind I settled down for a regular day at my workplace.

Come evening, I wasn’t feeling cheerful or even excited as I usually do on the day I publish a blog post. Instead, I was feeling bewildered and a more than a little upset. The “Charge of the Harassment Brigade” had struck.

Continue reading “Ayyo Rama ! Chori pakdi gayi”

I, Rama or Ayyo, Rama !

I, Rama: Age of Seers by Ravi Venu (Cratus Media, pp. 264, Rs.225) is the first book in the “I, Rama Series”. The series is a retelling of the Ramayana from Rama’s point of view.

This is His tale… let Him share His story with you…His account of the Legend. This is the story of that mighty king through His eyes, but my hand. (p.17)

I, Rama is narrated as a flashback to Rama’s twin sons Lava and Kusa, his brothers Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughan, and his foremost devotee, Hanuman. It is not a simple straightforward flashback as there are tales within tales and flashbacks within flashbacks. So, even if it is Rama, who is narrating the tale, he narrates it through another’s voice. This volume takes the readers through the origins of the Ishvaku clan, the reign of Dashrath, the birth of Rama and his brothers, Rama and Lakshman’s sojourn to the Dandaka forest with Vishwamitra, Sita’s swayamvar and her ensuing marriage with Rama, and his encounter with Parasurama. The book ends with Rama, Sita and Lakshman being exiled from Ayodhya.

This is what I, Rama narrates, a story that anyone who has read the Ramayana will be familiar with, including me.

Now, how do I write a review of a book that is yet another retelling of the beloved Hindu legend, the Ramayana?

How do I write a review of a book that is part science fiction, part fantasy, part mythology and ends up being an uncooked khichdi of genres?

How do I write a review of a book with that is woven around a unique premise, but is written very badly?

How do I write a review of a book that was much-anticipated, but which failed to deliver?

How do I write a review of a book whose language is so archaic that it made me cringe?

How do I write a review of a book called I, Rama, but one that made me go “Ayyo, Rama”?

How do I write a review of a book that I struggled to complete and then did not want to review it?

I, therefore, decided not to write a usual review. What I have written is this…

Continue reading “I, Rama or Ayyo, Rama !”