I have never hesitated picking a book by a lesser known author. In fact, in all my library visits in Singapore, I have picked books by authors I have never read before just based on the blurb I read at the end of the book. Some of the books turn out to be pleasant surprises and some not so. But when buying books I have always tried to use sound judgement- either bought books by known authors or best sellers.
I learnt of Amish Tripathi’s books in early 2011 when he released his second book of the Shiva Trilogy. I was in fact in the bookstore browsing books the day Amish was to launch his second book at the same store. There was a sizeable crowd waiting to get signed copies of the second book. The hype did not excite me since I hadn’t read his first book nor any reviews of the book until then.
It took me much longer than that to actually want to read the book. When I heard some of my friends and associates talking about his books and buying copies to read, I did not want to be left behind. By then I knew of the two books and how successful they had become. So I ordered my own copies from Flipkart. When they arrived, I flipped through a few pages of the first book and wondered if I had foolishly jumped on the bandwagon.
I got busy with other books I had borrowed from the library and kept Amish’s books back in the stack of books on my bookshelf. A whole 6 months passed before I made another attempt to read the Shiva Trilogy. This time around I took just that one book when I travelled, so that I had no other option but to strive through even if I did not find it gripping.
The second attempt paid off. I set a 50-pages-a-day reading limit and completed the 400 page book in 6 days- two days lesser than I predicted it would take. I had to read just beyond the first few chapters to begin enjoying the book. Amish has made Shiva so approachable and real life like. He curses, jokes, is earnest to learn and please. I love the way he has used some facts from mythology and added believable content to make the mythology plausible. For someone who has no interest whatsoever in religion or philosophy, I have begun to admire Shiva. When I read the book I was able to appreciate life the way it was in the time of Shri Ram and after him, Shiva. I would never have been able to remember names of Shiva’s able bodied friends and associates, if not for Amish’s picturization of them as mere mortal beings with the same needs and wants as us. I can tell you about Nandi, Veer Bhadra and Brahaspati now without having to philosophize.
It is possible that people who read the Shiva trilogy will look at Gods like Shiva with new perspective. The story makes you believe that there was a human like him that lived many thousand years ago who went on to become a God because of his deeds. In that I think Amish has achieved something that no religious book would be able to.
I look forward to reading the second book of the Shiva Trilogy and will wait for the third and final book in March 2013. The last time I read all the books in a frenzy before the last one came out was JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. There again I was the last adaptee!