Skip to main content

Lessons from the epic (Book Review: Shattered Dreams - Shubha Vilas)

Book Title: Shattered Dreams 
(Ramayana - The Game of Life - Book 2)

Author: Shubha Vilas
Genre: Religion & Philosophy / Self Help
Published by: Jaico Books
No. of pages: 387
Cover price: Rs. 350

Shattered Dreams, Book 2 of Shubha Vilas' Ramayana - The Game of Life begins with Dasaratha's restlessness. It is the night before the decision of Rama's coronation as the next king of Ayodhya is to be taken.
It journeys through Keikeyi's selfish and cruel demands, to Rama's initial days in forest and Bharat's reaction to these events.

Most of what I knew of Ramayana (before reading Shattered Dreams) was from Ramanand Sagar's TV version of it. Many a Sunday morning of my childhood was spent watching Arun Govil and Deepika as Rama and Sita, respectively.
I have no knowledge of and thus, no opinion on the different versions of the epic. What I am writing about here is 'Shattered Dreams' as a book.

Reading 'Shattered Dreams' is like watching a well-written play. Each emotion, each event is captured engagingly.

Dasaratha, the king of Ayodhya and the father of Rama, is fighting the 'common' human insecurities and emotions.

The author of 'Shattered Dreams', Shubha Vilas makes the story of Ramayana relevant for our days too. After all, times change, eras pass, human emotions remain the same.

"Having fun at the expense of another is like buying misery with your post-dated check that is cashed at some unpredictable time, when your balance is zero."

"Praise is the temperature at which any human melts. It is the garment that warms a cold body. It is a password to log into the software of any heart."

The bountiful footnotes in 'Shattered Dreams' are at times simple, yet profound insights into what we can learn from Ramayana and how it can be adapted into our everyday life.
Each footnote is an intense quote in itself. Each footnote is obviously in the context of the events of Ramayana and is thus well-explained.

"If service is like a flower and genuine service attitude is like fragrance, then gratitude is like a bee that hovers over it. Relationships thrive when genuine service is acknowledged by active gratitude."

That is why 'Shattered Dreams' is a perfect self-help book too.
This is also the reason that a single reading can't do justice to this rendition of the epic. It deserves to be read/referred to, just as any good self-help book.

The story of Ramayana is not an unfamiliar one. Even for a reader who knows nothing of it, 'Shattered Dreams' is a great way to be introduced to the world of Rama and Sita.

Simple language, vivid descriptions, emotional narrative, thorough story-telling, and practical explanations are some of the reasons why I am happy I read 'Shattered Dreams', although it is not a genre I usually read.

'Shattered Dreams' gives the backstories to all that happens. Obviously, nothing is as simple as general society's viewpoint would perceive it to be.
There are past indiscretions and mistakes to be paid for. There are past benevolences to be rewarded for. Both these weave the complex web of life.
'Shattered Dreams' simplifies the many secondary stories of Ramayana, which are necessary if one wants to understand the reasons for what happens through the course of the life of Rama.

I found out a lot more about this period of Ramayana than I did before. Either it was not part of the TV version, or my young eyes didn't understand the intricacies and depth of it.
It also included the story of Ravana, of what he was, before the path of his life crosses with that of Rama.
Was Ravana all bad? I have read/heard of accounts that claim that Ravana was a learned scholar. This book clarifies that he was always proud, cruel and a mercenary.

'Shattered Dreams' is not an easy, casual read.
Marriage, family, siblings, anger, arrogance, pride - 'Shattered Dreams' has lessons in all these and more. Actually, Ramayana has messages in these varied subjects, but Shubha Vilas' version of the epic explains each incident in terms that doesn't let the reader miss out on the implied perceptions.
Just reading the footnotes of 'Shattered Dreams' is a joy.

"The prominent rasa or mellow in the Ramayana is karuna rasa, which means crying in compassion for others. The unique feature in this epic is that no one  cries for himself or herself, everyone cries for the suffering or inconvenience of others."

(Text in italics are quotes from the book.)

*  *  *


Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: Lauren Carr's A Fine Year for Murder

Book Title : A Fine Year for Murder Author:   Lauren Carr Series : Thorny Rose Mystery Series (Volume 2) Category :  Adult fiction, 422 pages Genre :  Murder Mystery Publisher :  Acorn Book Services Content Rating : PG ( mild violence and sexual suggestion) My Review The second installment of Lauren Carr's Thorny Rose Mystery Series, A Fine Year for Murder surprises you with the thrill of a mystery that involves the back story of one of the central characters introduced in Kill and Run, the first book in the series, Jessica. Jessica's nightmares and a new twist to an old murder case have her, along with her husband Murphy, going to the scene of the crime, a place where she had spent many a holiday during her childhood days. Once again, the author manages to weave the relationships and emotions with the thrill of solving cases. A Fine Year for Murder introduces many new characters and puts Jessica and Murphy's relationship to test as they struggle to bring together the

Sunayna Prasad's A Curse of Mayhem

Book Title : A Curse of Mayhem (Alyssa McCarthy's Magical Missions, Book 2) Author : Sunayna Prasad Category : Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12),  173 pages Genre : Fantasy Publisher : Amazon KDP Release date:  July 2019 Content Rating : G: There is no mature language or adult content whatsoever. My Review Six months after her first encounter with magic, thirteen-year-old Alyssa encounters the world of magic again. The difference this time is that she herself can perform magic, something she needs to get rid of to live a normal life. Alyssa's home life has improved since the first book as she is now living with her godfather, Alex. The enemy in this one is Errol, a wizard from ages ago, who is trying to find life again through Alyssa. In A Curse of Mayhem, Alyssa struggles to find a balance between her life - home, school, grades, friends and the fight to escape another evil wizard. Talking about the evil wizard, the one from the first book does have a presence on this one too

You have help (Nancy Diedrich's Whenever a Child is Born)

  Title: Whenever a Child is Born Author: Nancy Diedrich Genre: Children's Picture Book (Ages 3-7) Pages: 30 Publisher: WestBow Press Release date: July 2017 *  *  * My Review What do you expect when you choose a children's book? Pictures that beckon, words that engage, and rhymes that you sing together with your kid. Nancy Diedrich's Whenever a Child is Born has all this and more. As a parent, I like this book not only because of how it would fascinate a child, but also because it would resonate with the parents too. In a subtle, unobvious way, this book allays your fears (and this applies to both the children and the parents) even as you enjoy the words that celebrate the birth of a new child. In 30 pages, you experience the reactions of animals and birds, and nature and heaven welcoming your little one. My kids are kind of grown up now, but as a parent, I still felt good having read it. As I read out a couple of couplets to my kid (always a kid for me, as I keep t