A completely different take on Mahabharata Death Seeking Immortal- Ashwathama’s Narrative
The book launch function of Death Seeking Immortal based on Ashwathama’s narrative and authored by Rajeev Balakrishnan, was held under the aegis of the Duchess Club at the Savera Hotel. Prakash Raj, known for his inimitable style of acting and his memorable portrayals on screen was the guest of honour who released the book. Leading Art Director Rajeevan, a production designer for innumerable Tamil and Hollywood films, received the first copy. The function was well attended by Indian mythology fans and the members of the Duchess club.
Death Seeking Immortal, based on Ashwathama’s narrative, provides a new paradigm shift to the version authored by the great Sage Vyasa. In this work of fiction, Ashwathama who has been exiled and cursed with immortality by Lord Krishna to roam around the forests and in solitude, till the end of time has a chance encounter with the author of the book. Initially reluctant, he is persuaded by the author to recant his version of the story. When the story unfolds from Ashwathama’s point of view, an entirely new perspective emerges. The fine line dividing the good and the bad is almost invisible. The halo around the good dissipates and the bad are not garbed in wickedness anymore. They reflect the current society – imperfect and as real as they come.
During an engrossing panel discussion involving Actor Prakash Raj, Art Director Rajeevan, dance exponent Dr. Anita Ratnam, film maker Sharada Ramanathan and authors Kirthi Jayakumar and Rajeev Balakrishnan on the topic, “Mahabharatha is considered as a work that celebrates the victory of Dharma over Adharma, but was it really Dharma that really prevailed?” several nuances of the epic were discussed with references thrown in the context of the current times we live in as well.
Speaking on the occasion, Prakash Raj opined, “Our ancient scriptures and epics were created as texts to be debated and then accepted. While some discount the theory of Karma, one cannot ignore the cause and effect relationship that still stands good in current times. The Death seeking Immortal is bold and original in both concept and form. It reveals many aspects of the epic which has not been seen in any other contemporary work so far.”
Art Director Rajeevan while complementing the book cover said, “The awesome cover design of the book along with the ad trailer, increases the intrigue factor, which makes anyone want to grab a copy immediately. Once I flipped through the first few pages, the unique style of narrative, and the perspective from a lesser known but pivotal character of the epic-Ashwathama made for an interesting read. The rich imagery is complemented by emotions that are so real and heart rending that towards the climax of the book, I could feel the pain and the helplessness that Ashwathama must be going through.”
Author Rajeev Balakrishnan while speaking on his debut work said, “India Mythology is a treasure trove of information for people like us who fish for some unique perspective for telling a story. Story telling based on Indian myths is catching on and it is a sure-fire way of connecting the present generation to our rich tradition and culture.”
Sapna Rangasamy, founder of Maitreya Publishers said, “After a long while, I found a refreshing and interesting work that came our way to be published. The research undertaken by the author was evident in the detailing of anecdotes, names of weapons/missiles used by the heroes. I am happy that the book has already generated considerable interest even in the pre-booking stages and has all the trappings of becoming a best seller.”
The book is priced at Rs.300 and is published by Maitreya Publishers. It is available at all leading book shops and sites such as Amazon, flipkart, Infibeam and buybooksindia.com for home delivery. Infibeam also supplies to Srilanka while the book can be purchased on Vedam.com for those residing in other countries.
About the book:
Cursed and exiled by Krishna, Ashwathama has been wandering the face of the earth for centuries now. When the author stumbles upon Ashwathama’s trail, he meets with the forgotten warrior and learns the secrets of the Mahabharata that have been lost over the years.
The halo of virtuousness around the Pandavas fades away as does the garb of wickedness that surrounds the Kauravas. Tutored by their scheming cousin Krishna in his fluid version of the Dharma, the Pandavas stoop to the lowest possible machinations to win the war.
As Guru Drona’s son, Ashwathama could hold his own against the likes of Arjuna, Bheema or Karna. Yet he languishes in obscurity even today. The stark truth of over vaulting ambitions, treachery, jealousy and insecurity emerges from the closet revealing a bunch of heroes who were actually imperfect.
The difference is that many of us who are imperfect can still earn a reprieve, but Ashwathama soldiers on as a death-seeking immortal. Why was he cursed, what made him do what he did, when will the curse be lifted, where is Ashwathama if he is still around? Answers only he can give and when he does the narrative is a hard hitting compelling one. The truth he speaks is very different from a version of the Mahabharata that you know.
About the author:
Rajeev Balakrishnan is a marketing communication specialist, who has been advising some of the top blue chip clients in areas of image and reputation management over the last two decades. Based in Chennai, he is an avid storyteller both at work and in real life.