This epic novel centres on Karna, the most criticised yet admired character of the Mahabharata, as seen through the eyes of Draupadi. It gives a new intellectual and spiritual dimension to a recreated Draupadi. Starting from a peaceful sleep after victory in war, her final slumber comes with the insight that life is beyond preconceived ideas, ideals and expectations. The novel is her journey of realisation.
Publisher : Oxford University Press
First Published : First Published as Ebook by DC Books in 2014.
The novel subsists on the Mahabharata, exploring the minds of two of its most significant characters, Draupadi and Karna. The narration is structured around Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas. The events and characters develop through her thought processes. The novel treads the same path as the epic to construct and evolve the intense and unconventional personality Draupadi. When the commonly accepted ideals failed her, she turns inward and realises that she had never lived for herself or her children and had smothered the ordinary pleasures in life. The pivot of the novel is Karna, probably the most reviled and admired character in the Mahabharatha. He grew up as the son of a low caste suta unaware of his regal origins. Struggling against a world that mocked at his good looks and powers, he finally finds respect and acceptance from Suyodhana. As his staunch friend and ally, nothing stops Karna from supporting his friend and his happiness. This pits him against his brothers. But in the run up to the war, he learns of his identity from Krishna. His mother whom he never saw in life comes to him begging for her children’s lives. His congenital protections that make him immortal are taken from him. Finally his brothers win the horrendous war where they kill him when unarmed. The novel blends the two story streams to create a classic with an insightful take on life.