I think it was a friend’s enthusiastic “yes!” when he spotted the book at our favourite bookstore that first piqued my curiosity about The Immortals of Meluha. And then of course there was the fact that I’d never heard Shiva being described in quite that way!
In India we take our Gods seriously and that somebody had actually considered and then gone ahead and attempted to not just add side notes but actually scrawl all over the mythology was quite intriguing. And that’s how I first visited The Immortals of Meluha (Shiva Trilogy).
Amish Tripathi’s first book takes us through history and mythology – both of which India has plenty of – often effectively blurring the line between the two. But then how else do you write about God(s) (yes, he brings in more than one) who lived in the Indus valley civilisation (which, of course, the book claims is a myth :-\).
The undulating myths aside the book is actually a fun read. Amish uses his imagination well, poising it delicately on the shoulders of history. As would be expected in such a case he turns most of how the story originally went on its head and you can’t help wondering as you go along what other surprises may be in store. I found myself frequently drawing parallels to figure out how much of the original myth he’d used and how.
And I’d have to admit to the kicks I got out of seeing Shiva painted so much like your favourite movie character!
Unsurprisingly Shiva is portrayed as the ultimate macho warrior (dreadlocked and unabashedly smoking weed) with a ghost in his past and the universe in his future who falls in love with an unattainable woman … or so it seems. Interestingly it’s Sati’s character that seems to unfold as the story goes on while Shiva’s is fairly obvious all along. But then again it would be quite a bore if everybody was to be all enigmatic and not to mention a slight bit disconcerting! But what’s brave of the author, I think, is that not only is Sati a developing character in the story but he’s also given her quite an interesting history; not the least of which (don’t worry this isn’t a spoiler) is that she’s much older than Shiva! But considering she represents the feminine energy of the universe in Hinduism perhaps it isn’t surprising that she should be enigmatic and frequently inconsistent while being emotional and brave.
All in all, an interesting read. But perhaps if you’re unfamiliar with Hindu mythology the book comes across as a tad bit larger than life and the characters just a slight bit too obvious and righteous. If you’re not up for acquainting yourself with the basics of our vast mythology just read it like you would a fantasy novel and you should be fine!