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I remember reading the Mahabharata in school and liking the story, even though I found it very unfair to women.
Recently, I was browsing books in my library and came across a book titled ‘The Palace of Illusions’ by Chitra Banerjee DivaKaruni. When I read the synopsis, I came know that it the Mahabharata as narrated by Draupadi. I got interested and picked it up.
It traces Draupadi’s life from the time she was born to when she became the wife of the Pandavas and the events that unfolded after that. In her childhood days, Draupadi is shown as a headstrong girl who wants to walk in step with the men and learn everything that is prohibited to a girl in terms of education. She doesn’t want to confine herself to learning only the womanly arts but learn the intricacies of ruling a kingdom too.
It traces her childhood friendship with Krishna and his influence throughout her life. It explores her complicated feelings for another man even though she is married to the Pandavas, an aspect of her life which is something she can’t ignore, forget or let go off. An aspect that changes the course of history for all involved.
I won’t reveal anything more about the book. When you read this book, it will open your eyes to truths you must have never imagined.
I am not an emotional reader but this book completely overwhelmed me emotionally. I had to stop after every few chapters to compose myself before I could continue, yet this was one book I didn’t want to put down till I reached the last chapter.
I cried, I felt anger, I understood the characters of the Mahabharata like I had never imagined possible. This is one book which is a must read for everyone, not just Indians.
Chitra Banerjee DivaKaruni has opened facets of the personalities of the characters in the Mahabharata in such a way that you will empathize with each one of them. I am hooked to this book forever.