Tales with a Twist by Lekshmy Rajeev SignUp
Boloji.com

Channels

In Focus

 
Analysis
Cartoons
Education
Environment
Opinion
Photo Essays
 
 

Columns

 
Business
Random Thoughts
 
 

Our Heritage

 
Architecture
Astrology
Ayurveda
Buddhism
Cinema
Culture
Festivals
Hinduism
History
People
Places
Sikhism
Spirituality
 
 

Society & Lifestyle

 
Health
Parenting
Perspective
Recipes
Society
Teens
Women
 
 

Creative Writings

 
Book Reviews
Computing
Humor
Individuality
Literary Shelf
Memoirs
Quotes
Stories
Travelogues
Workshop
 
 
Book Reviews Share This Page
Tales with a Twist
by Lekshmy Rajeev Bookmark and Share


Cynicism is best countered by humor. 
 
Puranic  tales, as a rule, are told for the edification of the worldly. But how do we tackle the cynics? Cynicism is best countered by wit and humor, satire and sarcasm. And that's exactly what Rajasekhar Bose "Parashuram" did from the 1930s to the 1950s, writing in Bengali.

Incisive criticism
 
There are 20 tales culled out from the puranas, itihasas like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and kavyas like the Meghdoot of Kalidasa. But the tale as told by Parashuram commences virtually where the original episode ends, or as it is halfway through; then he creates imaginary situations, taking off from the context of the tale, to include incisive criticism of evils found in contemporary society in politics, culture and religion ' almost reminiscent of the great 18th Century Malayalam poet Kunjan Nambiar ' and completes the tale in an inimitable manner, even with a twist at the end! Parashuram does this in a style that is curiously light and sharp at the same time.

The first story, "Jabali", is important in the sense that the character of the sage Jabali is somewhat akin to that of Rajasekhar Bose himself ' that the inveterate social critic and seeming cynic, who delivers words of practical wisdom to Ram, echoes the author's views. He tries to convince Ram very logically about the futility of adhering to the letter of religion. But when Ram refuses to budge and does not value Jabali's advice, he turns around and says that he had said all that not because he didn't have faith in religion and spirituality, but to use everything in his power to dissuade Ram from undertaking the self-destructive forest sojourn.

"Surpanakha's Reminiscences" begins with a t'te-'-t'te in the immediate circle of the author and his acquaintances and slips into a discussion about the memoirs of Surpanakha he is engaged in writing. It presents the importunate sister of Ravan who is after Ram, not as mutilated by Lakshman but as a moody epileptic.

Translating humor
 
Mahaveer Hanuman's imaginary wife-hunt and the doubts associated with marriage in "Hanuman's Dream" make for uproarious laughter: At one point Hanuman asks Sugreev "How do you keep this gaggle of women under control? Don't they quarrel? Don't they torture you with words like arrows?" This eternal celibate turns into a tool of impeccable humor in the hands of Parashuram.

The translators have done a wonderful job, despite the fact that they were faced with a daunting task ' that of translating humor into English, from a language that is far removed in kinship terms. Indialog Publications deserves all praise for doing their bit for cynical people!

Share This:
02-Jul-2006
More by :  Lekshmy Rajeev
 
Views: 1475      Comments: 0




Name *
Email ID
 (will not be published)
Comment *
Characters
Verification Code*
Can't read? Reload
Please fill the above code for verification.
 
Top | Book Reviews



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1999-2019 All Rights Reserved
 
No part of this Internet site may be reproduced without prior written permission of the copyright holder
.