Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My Teaser for Today:
“Drupada was happy to finally get a son, but then, to his dismay, Shikhandi in a rather cavalier moment placed around his neck Amba’s garland of ever-fresh lotus flower that for years had been hanging on a pillar of his palace. ‘He will kill Bhisma,’ moaned Drupada, ‘But I need a son who will kill Drona.”(Devdutt Pattnaik, Shikhandi & Other Tales They Don’t Tell You, pg 43)
I find the title of the book, a teaser in itself.. “Other Tales they don’t tell us..” Devdutt, teasing the reader to open, read and enter a world of the lesser known stories.. it is like an invitation urging us to enter a room filled to the brim with stories trying to get out, and let itself spread..
And as Indians we seem to be familiar with most of them, if not the stories, the characters.. even if in a scattered way, we all know the history of the Pandavas, our Gods and goddesses, we know that they have avatars….. For sources, if not grandparents and parents, we had our B R Chopra with his tales on national television and the like..in the 90s, ekta kapoor in the 2000s, also ķnown as the knotty, something like that 😉
I blame it on this adaptation of Mahabharata that the actor Mukhesh Khanna seems etched in my memory as anyone but Bhishma in silver clothes on the bed of arrows .. His later avatar of the first televised Indian superhero, Shaktimaan, does not register at all… and even if it does, it does very late… it just shows how interested I was in that serial. Now, if it is not a coincidence what is, the image I have of Khanna-Bhisma in the silver clothes on the bed of arrows is brought about in the tale by none other than Shikhandi…
The title of the book says, “Shikhandi and other tales they don’t tell you” .. and quite aptly, it seems to suggest that we may have heard about Shikhandi.. we all seem to know about Shikhandi as well… Devdutt begins his set with this story and then he goes on the tell us other tales of transformation and births involving other gods.. god who, we have known, some tales we have known, but never thought of under this banner.
But at least the title seems to tell the readers that they were somehow not actively passed on. It is as if there was some restraining order on these stories.. stories withdrawn from the larger public for reasons known and unknown, and these reasons make them all the more mysterious and therefore, the demand to read 🙂 Even though the book is not part of the genre of mystery and thriller, the title kind of gives it that edge of mmm what is it, if not a whodunit 😛
Therefore, I feel the title invites the readers to explore the seemingly unexplored, of the suppressed, not talked about in addition to think about how certain stories are there and some are not.. it is about what trickles down as history, as stories, what all gets to be talked about and circulated….
Now, writing about myths has its good and bad… and the good is, that it is in the realm of the familiar.. Devdutt need not explain a lot to his readers, if they are Indians or well read on Hindu myths… most of us would have heard these stories over and over again from some source if we live or have lived in India… it is difficult not to come by or ignore them.. they are so in the face every where.
the bad is, exactly the same familiar, which makes it difficult to make the stories sound novel and therefore, interesting. One of the ways he works this out is by giving additional background information and context. The very act of pooling together stories from different mythological sources on a given theme, here the third gender, makes it a new collection.. we may have come across these stories, but reading so many of them together in this given context gives it a perspective. Added to that the current social context when it was released adds footage and values to a cause.
It is funny how a title can itself lead to so many readings of what the book entails…”Other Tales they don’t tell us…”
Teaser Tuesdays.. taken for granted as part of Wordy Wednesdays..