Skip to main content

Book Review: Vikas Singh's Bhima is full of passion, action and humour

Over the years, like many Indians, I too have read several books in English and Malayalam that reinterpret the Mahabharatha from a specific point of view, such as that of Draupadi. I was a teenager when I read Malayalam writer MT Vasudevan Nair’s classic ‘Randamoozham’ (Second Chance) which positions Bhima as the protagonist. It was mind-blowing brilliant and I was haunted by Bhima for years.

Vikas Singh in his recently released novel, Bhima, states that he was inspired by MT’s ‘Randamoozham’ but felt that he had another ‘Bhima’ in his perspective.

This is my book review for the #FestiveReading series that has been unveiled by Writersmelon. Visit here http://www.writersmelon.com and you can also follow them on Twitter @Writersmelon.

So, what makes Vikas Singh’s ‘Bhima’ different?
For one, Vikas Singh’s ‘Bhima’ is full of passion, action and humour. The first chapter catapults you into the fiery passionate love making between Bhima and Draupadi, after he ties her hair with Dusshasana’s blood.



Sex sells – be it in books, movies, art, etc. But while reconstructing mythology-based classics, an overdose of sex is a dampener. A classic needs to be experienced as a classic – especially when it is reinterpreted.
                                                                       
Let’s move to the blurb may give you a further hint of what to expect:

I am the mightiest warrior of my time. I have violated my dharma and murdered a man in cold blood. I have, single-handedly, wiped out a whole generation of my kinsmen. I have committed acts of unspeakable brutality on the battlefield. I have done it all for the love of one woman.

I am Bhima, the second Pandava.

Vikas Singh’s ‘Bhima’ explores the curious, passionate, courageous and sensitive side of the great warrior. He is the only Pandava who sees through Yudhishtira’s intentions behind every action and raises logical questions to Krishna about every important event.

None of the other narratives on the Mahabharatha offer such glimpses of Bhima with this unique intensity – as a curious son, a selfless brother, a passionate and caring husband and a most protective father and uncle.

Then why did Bhima keep quiet when his mother Kunti said to Arjuna that all the brothers had to share the “prize”?

His thoughts go like this:

Yudhishtira says that “Mother’s words are like a command of the gods...”

A part of my brain was pointing out to me that if all five of us indeed married Draupadi, then as the eldest brother, Yudhishtira would be the first to consummate the marriage with Draupadi.
                                                                      
“What would have I done if I were in his place...maybe I would have just taken Draupadi’s hand and walked away from there forever...”

The technique of evoking humour will delight readers, especially with the consummation sequence, where the author tactfully uses Bhima’s witty nature to reconstruct the scenes.

We know that Arjuna has almost always been the unspoken hero in the Mahabharatha but he is side-stepped in this narrative. Throughout the narrative, Bhima’s honesty and integrity as a warrior is brought to life. You will feel for Bhima like never before.

Bhima’s love for Draupadi and his part-love, part-jealousy of Arjuna is explored across every sequence of his life. But as a reader, I would also liked to have seen an interplay of magical facets and a playful narrative in this book, instead of the straight-forward retelling of Bhima's version of the events that led to the Mahabharatha.

Mother was always a formidable woman but Arjun could cuddle and kiss and tease her in a way that none of us dared to, least of all me. Since I was completely hopeless at displaying affection through words or gestures, I tried to do so through actions. I would tirelessly run errands for mother, or do things that I think would make her happy. This pattern, set in early childhood, would become a recurring theme later in all my relationships with the women I cared about. Sometimes they noticed. Mostly, they took it for granted. Still, I was grateful for any scraps of attention that came my way.”

‘Bhima’ by Vikas Singh is a deeply moving account that provides the definitive answer to the question: What was it like to be Bhima?

Comments

SHANAYA TALES said…
This book seems to be right up my alley. I have always wondered about this - What was it like to be Bhima? - being desperately in love with Draupadi, yet never being a priority for her; singlehandedly killing the Kuru brothers, yet getting overshadowed by Arjun.

Thanks for sharing about this book. I am adding this to my TBR on GoodReads right away. :)
seeya said…
Seems like a different kind of book to be read. I haven't read much about Bheema except that he was very powerful.

Most Popular Posts

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala

Many years ago, when I wrote this post on Kerala's caste system, I had not considered the possibility that my thoughts and my personal journey would receive such online abuse or that I would be seen as some one who was trying to insult other castes. The intention of writing is always to share an experience and not to insult others. My experience of motherhood and marriage would be different from yours. When I write about my experience, it is illogical to shout that as being insulting to your experience because our journeys are entirely different narratives. 

My question is - why do you ABUSE any caste or person here? You are free to disagree but why do you ABUSE? How does that reflect on YOU?

In my article, I shared what trials I went through, without any intention to insult any community.The intention of my article is to question - why are we even exchanging insults over an issue called caste? 

Should we not be aspiring to be above caste considerations instead of abusing each other …

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Meaning, Benefit of Chanting and Who can Chant the Mantra

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra
This mantra is believed to have the power to remove all sufferings, diseases and bestow the one who chants it with good health and long life. It is also believed that constant contemplation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can help spiritual aspirants to overcome the cycle of birth and death.
What got me fascinated about this mantra is something personal.  I learned this mantra from my father but it is my maternal grandmother who chanted it all the time and repeatedly told me of its tremendous power to protect. However, I did not chant this mantra regularly. 
But at the age of two, my son was taught some mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he became very enthusiastic about chanting the mantras. Following this, my mother taught him the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra and he took to …

Power of Love

                  Love without a price tag, conditions attached or the fine print of debt 

At the age of five or six years, I told my Dad that I would never ever opt for an arranged marriage, especially the transactional ''bride seeing'' ceremony, where the bride is paraded around like a fancy showpiece before a bunch of curious strangers, who are more interested in how much gold she is wearing than her IQ.
Dad, being my ever patient, serene hero, just smiled that calm, soothing smile that some of you are already familiar with and he said, ''Sure, that's fine."
I was expecting a full flung family drama, a storm, maybe even being thrown out for the audacity of breaking the much-treasured family tradition. How dare a girl even say such a thing to her parents, right?
Nothing happened. Dad was so cool. Then it struck me - maybe I am adopted. That's why it doesn't matter so much to him. 
I did manage to summon the courage and ask Dad several times, "…

Amazing Signs You are an Earth Angel

Doreen Virtue’s book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” brings to life the reality of Earth Angels in very easy way. It’s an exciting must-read! [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

Earth Angels have amazing super powers in: MusicArtsWriting HealingManifesting miracles for others such as controlling weather conditions &  becoming invisible at will
DO READ: ASK MORE, FEAR LESS.

How to Identify Earth Angels by their Traits
To know whether you are an Earth Angel, take a look at their known traits that are explained in this book:


You have a graceful and compassionate aura that inspires people.Your presence “lifts” everyone to happier spirits – it is proof of who you really are.You don’t judge others but you overdo the “acceptance” bit. So, you tolerate even those who show no respect for boundaries.You cannot stand anyone suffering or being in pain. You are constantly “rescuing people” because it is in your nature to want to see everyone happy in this world. But y…

A Dad's advice to the daughter he loves: Be yourself, remember you are special and treasure your strengths

Just a week ago, Dad gave me a very emotional pep talk at the Bangalore airport. The good thing is that whenever I feel emotionally vulnerable or stressed out, I replay Dad's conversation. It lifts me up and instantly brings a huge smile to my face. That's my Dad - yeah! 




As a teenager, Bangalore used to be one of my favorite cities though the garden city was not as ''global'' and ''vibrant'' as it is today. It was a pretty cool place to go shopping for stylish accessories, not that I could splurge and go crazy with shopping but I could do so on a limited budget. So, I used to look forward to our summer trips to Bangalore, from where we would head out to Whitefield. 

The busy, broad streets, the scent of street food and the vibrant atmosphere had always perked me up every time I reached Bangalore. Be it heading to Puttaparthi or Whitefield, my parents and I have traveled to Bangalore so many times that it became a kind of ''routine'…

Top 10 Skincare tips for Summer

Come summer, and we women worry a lot about how the sun lashes out on our skin. True, skincare tips for the summer are plenty but what about the hushed secrets - yes, those tried and tested family secrets that are passed on from mother to daughters? [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]




Here are some that are totally easy to do. Best of all, these are effective and bring on a feel-good factor in the peak of summer.

1. Replace water with rosewater. It keeps your skin luminous and fragrant throughout the day. It's a good toner too.

2. Cleanse your skin by combining these ingredients - honey, milk, rosewater/rosepetals and turmeric. Add a dash of olive oil and yes, it feels wonderful.

3. Almond oil body baths are a must-have! You will smell delicious all day. This summer, skip all those body lotions & moisturizers! You will love the way almond oil pampers your skin all day!

4. Use a mixture of almond oil and olive oil for your feet. Your feet will sparkle an…

Five ways to take charge of your anger

“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems -- not people; to focus your energies on answers -- not excuses.” ― William Arthur Ward
Every day, the newspaper headlines are full of scary stories of people killing each other over trivial things - mostly these incidents happen when individuals lose their temper and turn violent. In traffic jams across Noida in the evenings, people don't hesitate to walk out and hit each other. No one stops anyone. Everyone likes a big, bad fight. It's great to vent. After all, what's the big deal about getting angry? After all, if you cannot express what pisses you off, how can you call yourself human? 

[Source: Pixabay] Here's what I think: Anger is an egoistic projection of our own minds.  It also stems from an expectation that has not been fulfilled.

People who get angry easily do not respond to situations rationally.  It destroys them first before it goes out and delivers blows to others around. That is why spiritual masters ask peopl…