It was really long since I read a Malayalam Book, so grabbed ‘Randamoozham’ as soon as my eyes landed on it. For the unknown, Randamoozham is a book written by M.T depicting Mahabharatam from Bheeman’s perspective. I am no one to judge which version is the truth, but loved the view from a different angle. Having heard mahabharatham and Ramayanam a zillion times from Apoopan, I thought I knew them well enough. Of course it was about 20 years ago that I used to fall asleep in amoomas bed listening to these epics. Similar to the song 4 u shows that we see around, i could choose which part of the story i wanted to hear and he would narrate it in great detail. Arjunan emerged as the superstar in all those stories and I adored him. The part where prince Utharan goes for war with Duryodanan, but gets scared when he reaches there and Arjunan who was in disguise as Brahanala fights for him and wins the war was my favorite. I would ask apoopan for that story again and again, he would describe it every time patiently with the same enthusiasm. Its been about 10 years since his demise. I miss him.
Yet, I had forgotten many parts of the story and when I read the book it gave me this peculiar pleasure of reviving some faded childhood memories. I had read in one of Amir Khans interview that he thinks Mahabharatam has the potential similar to The LOTR. Im not commenting on that as yours truly is yet to watch LOTR [embarrassed]. But this is one hell of a story. Last week if someone had asked what its about I wouldve told .. there lived some bros and they all wanted the country and they fought for it. Random stuff i remember from the book follows. < Spoiler alert >
Jeernavastrangal - Liked this particular chapter more where Krishnan during the war tells the brothers that human bodies are clothes for the soul and it is just these clothes which get destroyed. The soul remains. It chooses new clothes. Hence death doesnt matter. Krishnan is shown as a normal human being with flaws just like anyone else, and not as Lord Krishna. Nor has the author mentioned anything about Gita. Even though Krishnan gives this valuable advice, his nephews death saddens him. Bheeman realizes that preaching and practicing are different things.
Droupadi swayamvaram – Arjunan wins her. When they bring her home, Kunti [ without coming out of the house] asks them to share what they got. I knew this already. Then comes the twist. The brothers laugh off Kuntis “accidental” inappropriate words. But then yudishtiran doesnt let it go that easily. He claims that its a sin to disobey mother’s words. Realizing Yudishtirans secret desire, Bheemans outraged. Later Kunti confides that she told that on purpose and that it was essential for the brothers to stay united.
Family – Most of them have more than a wife. For Bheeman there is Hidumbi and Balandhara apart from Droupadi. Husbands donot keep track of their wives or kids. Most of their kids come to join them in the war and that is when fathers and sons meet for the first time. Bheeman feels guilty about all this.
Droupadis partiality-The Kalyanasougandikam saga’s quite famous. Bheeman finds the flowers discarded at a lake side after gifts her those [he undergoes quite some trouble to get them]. She loved Arjunan and Arjunan alone. She makes Bheeman promise that he wont let Arjunan face Jarasandhan for the inevitable fight. She comes crying to Bheeman when keechakan misbehaves with her, when her other husbands discard her concerns. Bheeman loves her and anticipates his turn for her, only to hear her let out Arjunans name in her sleep. At the end when all of them leaves for Vanaprastham [or Swargavasam] after a while of travel she collapses. Bheeman tells everyone, but they all leave her behind. Yudistiran replies that she doesnt deserve Swargam as her eyes were always on Arjunan even when she was being his Pattamaharshi for Rajasooyam. She has only Bheeman by her side during her last hours.
Dronacharyar- Another one who was favorably inclined towards Arjunan. He discourages Bheeman from practicing Asthra vidhya even though he was good at it , disagrees to teach Ekalavyan and demands his thumb when he fears Ekalavyan may become a threat to Arjunan. He doesnt allow Karnan to display his abilities for Abhyasaprakadanam as he is Soothaputhran.
Yudishtiran – is shown more as a loser than as The Dharma Raja. He is someone who believes in peace even if someone slaps him. He’s the reason pandavar loses their kingdom, he shamelessly bets even when droupadi is at stake. His brothers obey him throughout. But then finally arjunan blasts him well, thats the part where I started loving Arjunan again :D. Kurukshetra yudham is won mainly with Bheemans power and Arjunans excellence. At the end when only Duryodanan is left, yudishtiran challenges duryodanan to fight with any of the 5 brothers to win back his kingdom. The brothers are left speechless and Krishnan rolls his eyes.
Pitrthvam- Yet another shock.Like Bheeman I also believed that indran is arjunans father, vayudevan bheemans and so on. But at the end of the story there are some shocking revelations regarding the paternity. Yudishtiran confides in Bheeman that Vidurar is his biological father!
Karnan – He is better than Arjunan in archery. But he is denied opportunity at abhyasa prakadanam and at droupadi swayamvaram as he is soothaputhran [turns out that this is true biologically too]. Bheeman when he is about to kill Karnan during the war finds out the truth from his saradhi [I know.. too filmy]. Later on Karnan is killed by Arjunan in a non-Tendulkar way [err..I cant find the proper word..You know the wheel getting stuck on the mud story]
Khadolkachans death – Karnan had got special weapons from Gods and he had reserved it for Arjunan. But hes finally forced to use it against Khadolkachan. When Bheeman is overcome with fatherly grief, Krishnan calls for a celebration as the divyastram has got used up.
Kunthi- Shes quite chalaak, she understands kauravars tactics better than her sons. Shes partial towrds arjunan and even towards yudistiran upto some extent. You get a feeling that she has a heart of stone when you read the part where she tactfully made a tribal mother and 5 sons to stay in arakillam.. so that Duryodanan thinks that the Pandavar is dead. Yudistiran asks Bheeman to become the king, but Vidurar and Kunthi opposes this. By the end of the book youll be able to guess that this was due to Vidurars love for his son.
Abhimanyu- You will be able to identify this guy in every movie made on war. Someone who is young and charming, someone whom you love, but will be killed for sure in a heroic way. I guess all those characters were inspired from this little master. All other heroes are overshadowed by this boys charm. Bheeman is enthralled by his charisma and humility [so is yours truly]. He fights till his last breath and takes down many of his opponents before the merciless knowledgeable so called acharyas along with hundreds of soldiers attack the poor unarmed boy :-(
Now waiting eagerly for the Secret of the Nagas [Second book in the Shiva trilogy]. Ill get it tomorrow <:-P