Title: Karna’s Alter Ego
Author: Surendra Nath
There are few stories that could link two individuals who belong to a different era. “Karna’s Alter Ego” is one of those books which involve some course of events in the protagonist’s life that highlight some of the most important lessons. A story that includes mythological aspects of human life, the gods and mankind, which is source of inspiration to a certain extent.
Blurb: Karna, the ill-fated hero of Mahabharata. Many feel he deserved to win. If only luck had favoured him…
5000 years later, we have a man named Vasu, who is much like Karna – illegitimate birth, very talented but denied all credits in life, rejected in love, misses a medal in the Asian games, gets caught for telling an innocent lie, overlooked for promotion. He begins to identify himself with Karna, and interestingly Karna appears to him after every debacle to assuage and encourage him.
It seems Vasu is Karna’s alter ego.
My View: Definitely, the author chose a different subject for writing, which is noteworthy. The story mainly comprises of two characters, Karna and Vasu Sen, which establish a unique connection. Vasu’s life comprises several hardships and he has to deal with disappointments that compound into sorrow and despair. Amidst these troubles, Karna enters into his life as a confidant. From that point of time, Vasu turned on to Karna for any of his problem or bewilderment. Right from his childhood, Karna was his guide.
Talking about the first impression of the book, the catchy title drew my attention towards it. However, I felt that the cover could be more attractive. The blurb is short but, gives the reader a sense of excitement.
The characters in the book are quite interesting. The protagonist resembles Karna a lot. He belongs to a poor family but, his persistent efforts, dedication and sharp mindedness is very much similar to Karna, who was a warrior in Mahabharata. Despite of all the sufferings, Karna insists him to have hope and move forward in life. Besides, the protagonist’s wife and family members seem to fit well in the plot.
Karna’s appearances before Vasu change his perspective about life. The dialogues between the two having the conversation about quotidian situations of life, are captivating and solves many queries that often go through our mind.
Several anecdotes mentioned from the epic Mahabharata are intriguing. I liked how they are well put together. Moreover, the ones who are not familiar with the incidents and characters of Mahabharata can refer to the references on the last pages of the book. These short instances in the book also show the author’s deep research.
The story line is based on myths and traditional stories, this would not necessarily appeal to everyone who is not fond of reading religion and mythology based books. One may interpret it to be a history book, but there’s a powerful message in it. Furthermore, it gives insightful details about the great epic Mahabharata, which reveals so much about Karna and other characters. The zeal to learn from every struggle and finding good in everything is something that I have comprehended after going through the story.
Altogether, it is a unusual and motivating story. The ones who are keen to find out about hindu mythology and narratives can certainly give it a read.
Reviewer: Shivani Chauhan