Status: Read from Aug 18 to Aug 19, 2017
My rating: /5
Author: Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan
Who is Satyavait? Truth-teller. Daughter of water. Child of apsara and king. Cursed from birth. Fish-smell girl.
Growing up as a girl in the Vedic age is anything but easy – and even harder for the future Queen of Hastinapur, the kingdom of all kingdoms. She must contend with magic islands, difficult sages, calculating foster parents, sexual awakening and loneliness. Even when she is at the threshold of the capital, King Shantanu, smitted though he is with her, already has a crown prince from his marriage with a goddess. Young Satyavati must walk on thorns to reach her destiny in a world ruled by men.
One of young India’s most feisty voices, Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan coaxes the lesser-known girls of the Mahabharata out of the shadows. Now watch them flare up and take on their worlds.
When we speak about the epic Mahabharata, what comes to our mind? The Kauravas, the Pandavas, the gruesome epic war at Kurukshetra. Yes, in Mahabharata all attention is on these two battling sides, the plotting and cunning Kauravas and the followers of dharma, Pandavas. It will not be wrong, if we say Mahabharat is a male dominated story. What about the women involved in this epic? They have always remained as less imported in this great epic, with the exception of Draupadi ( and perhaps Kunti). But these women are the heart of everything that happens in Mahabharata. Meenakshi Reddy’s new series “Girls of the Mahabharata” is an remarkable work to focus on the women involved and their contributions in giving shape to the greatest ever epic of India, as we know it today.
This book “The One Who Swam With The Fishes” focuses on young Satyavati, who took her future in her own hands, was courageous to speak her mind out to create her own destiny which she rightly deserved. The story is narrated by Satyavati, swinging between her past and present in the successive chapters. The story beings with young little Satyavati, then named as Matsyaganda ( the girl with smell of fish ), being scorned by her adaptive mother. But her father, the king of fishermen, knew her true origin and always encouraged her and prepared her for her destiny which are rightfully hers. The turn of events, leading her to move out of house and discover her gurus, to evolve her as an attractive, brave lady to accomplish the task, to become a queen as she is destined to do. With her charms and bold straightforward answers even the King Shantanu is not left with any other option but to agree to her cruel demands. The story also justifies her actions towards her determined demand to Shantanu and Prince Devavrata, later known as Bheesma, takes the vow to never marry and bear children.
Fate is a funny thing, my dear. It leads you by the hand and takes you where it wants you to go, and you have no more control over it than a blindfolded child.
Mythology has always been one of my favorite genre. But with all the narration to give the feel of mythology, the books are quite lengthy and requires focused reading. But this book was just like reading some fairy tale story of a poor girl with a stern step mother, who finds her way out and makes her own destiny. The story is quick and light read, and very engaging. For someone who wants to try a mythology for very first time, this book is highly recommended.
About the Author:
Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan was born in Hyderabad, but grew up in New Delhi, where she currently lives with her Partner and their three cats. Formerly a journalist, Madhavan’s first book ‘You Are Here’ was commissioned in 2007 on the basis of her hugely popular blog Compulsive Confessions. Since then, Madhavan has written three more novels – two for young adults – and a collection of short stories, as well as contributed a several anthologies. She also writes essays and columns for a variety of publications. ‘The One Who Swam With the Fishes’ is her sixth book and her first foray into mythology-inspired writing.