P. 1
Bhimsen

Bhimsen

Ratings:

5.0

(1)
|Views: 5,073 |Likes:
Published by Prem Panicker
A transcreated version of Randaamoozham, a novel by Malayalam author MT Vasudevan Nair that retells the story of the Mahabharat from the point of view of Bhimsen.
A transcreated version of Randaamoozham, a novel by Malayalam author MT Vasudevan Nair that retells the story of the Mahabharat from the point of view of Bhimsen.

More info:

Published by: Prem Panicker on Oct 05, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOC, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

03/10/2014

pdf

text

original

 
B H I M S E N
byPrem Panicker
 Adapted from“Randaamoozham” by M T Vasudevan Nair 
Kahani hamari Mahabharat ki
As a child growing up in the ancestral
tharavad 
in Calicut, Kerala, duskwas my favorite time. My grandmother would ritually light the lamp,bring it out into the front porch to the traditional call of 
dee-pam!
—thecall that signaled that her work for the day was done, and the story-telling could begin.Grandma was a brilliant narrator, with skills stage performers wouldenvy: thus, rather than tell the tale in linear fashion, she would set thestage, conjuring up a vision of the setting, the characters, thebackdrop, and then leading into her story which she told with dialog,occasionally poetical riffs, and an educated ear for the inherent drama.The
Mahabharat 
was her favorite go-to book when it came time fortelling stories; mine too. Though she ritually worshiped the
Ramayan
[there’s this one month in the calendar when, at dusk, she would bringout her copy and read aloud from it for an hour; I’d find other thingsto do, but as I heard her end the day’s reading, would come runningback for the sweetened
 poha
and other goodies that were a part of such rituals]. She sensed that the very linear, black-and-whitemorality play that is the
Ramayan
was not conducive to grippingnarration the way the
Mahabharat 
was, with its highly charged centralnarrative embellished by the underlying filigree work of side storiesand tangential asides.
B
HIMSEN
1
 
That halcyon period developed in me a taste for epic narrative thatsubsequent years have only enhanced. It prompted me, during myteens, to read the
Mahabharat 
in its entirety, as translated intoMalayalam prose by Vidwan K Prakasam.I then discovered various re-tellings of the epic, each brilliant in itsown way: the plays derived from the epic, by Kavalam NarayanaPanikkar (no, no relation); Chellappan Nair’s play
Karnan
; PKBalakrishnan’s novel
Ini Nhan Urangatte
(Let me sleep now), abrilliantly textured retelling of the
Mahabharat 
with the focus on Karnaas seen through the eyes of Draupadi; and of course M T VasudevanNair’s
Randaamoozham
, an amazing re-imagining of the epic from thepoint of view of Bhimsen.This soft spot for the epic prompted me to pick up Chitra BannerjeeDivakarunni’s
Palace of Illusions
the day it hit the bookstores, and toread it that same evening/night. Had I written a review next morning,as I was tempted to, it likely would have been unprintable; now thatsome months have gone by, initial disgust has been replaced by—indifference, I think. I noticed at the time that Jai Arjun Singh on hisblog had reacted with initial contempt, followed bya more soberappraisal; rather than look at the book in my own turn, I’ll leave youwith his take. [If you are into this sort of thing, read also Jai’sexcellent essayon modern renderings of mythological tales.]Anyway, to the point of this post: At the height of my being pissed off with Divakarunni’s book, I re-read a couple of my favorites, includingthe books of ‘MTV’ and Balakrishnan [the latter, incidentally, isconceptually on the same lines as
Palace of Illusions
, in that theKarna-Draupadi relationship is a dominant theme—but there thesimilarity ends]. And that in turn led me to attempt a recreation of MTV’s
Randaamoozham
.It is
not 
a translation. It is not even a transcreation, if you go by theaccepted meaning of the term. What it is, is a re-telling, in which—with profound respect for one of my favorite writers—I intend to stayfaithful to the central narrative and its governing emotionalundercurrents, but manipulate time lines and incidents, and wherenecessary even chapter progressions, to suit my own narrative.Let me put this another way: I was so pissed off by Palace of Illusions,that I decided to piss all of you off with my own attempt at a versionof the
Mahabharat 
. You have been warned; episode one follows. Infact, I’ll manipulate the date and time stamp on this thing so the first
B
HIMSEN
2
 
episode comes under this post, not above. I have a bit written already,but not much; since I’ll mostly be doing this on the fly, I’ll try and stickto a schedule of two episodes a week, upping it to three if I can findtime to get sufficiently ahead in the narrative.PS: If anyone out there knows where I can get hold of an Englishtranslation of Sivaji Savant’s
Mrityunjaya
[Which is the Mahabharatfrom Karna’s point of view; while on that, Karna more than any otherfigure from the epic appears to have been the springboard foroutstanding interpretative literature], I’d dearly love to get hold of acopy.
Behind Bhimsen
Wow, that’s neat—far more mail feedback on the Bhimsen episodethan I imagined, and here I was wondering whether such an effortwould bore readers to extinction. So okay, doubts firmly erased; nextchapter tomorrow, and at least two a week here on.A couple of readers asked if there was some other reason for my doingthis, other than the pleasure of sharing a good story. Actually there is—the final push came out of a discussion with my hugely literateuncle, shortly after a recent re-reading of the MTV book my own effortis based on. But to recount that discussion will be to jump thenarrative gun; I’ll keep this thing in mind, and bring up the discussionwhen I get to that point in the story that triggered it. Meanwhile, thebest answer for why came in a mail fromJai Arjun Singh; the relevantbit reproduced here with his permission:Would love to read translations of some of the lesser-known re-tellings/re-imaginings from around the country - it would be veryrevealing because, as you know, the specifics of these old storiesand myths vary greatly as one moves from one part of thecountry to another. There’s a north Indian village, for instance,where Duryodhana is historically worshipped. With a work asstaggeringly vast as the Mahabharata, the only way to do justiceto it is to read as many different versions, written from as manydifferent points of view as possible.
B
HIMSEN
3

Activity (23)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
Kulbhushan Yadav liked this
1 thousand reads
1 hundred reads
Narasimha Murthy added this note
yes wonder full
Rohit Agarwal liked this
Rohit Agarwal liked this
thomagt liked this
c_abhijit468547 liked this
Sabyasachi Mitra liked this
ShwetaNBatra liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->