He squatted and perched his lithe, muscular body on the narrow ledge extending over the lake. The numerous battlescars on his skin gleamed in the shimmering reflected light of the waters. Shiva remembered well his carefree childhood days. He had perfected the art of throwing pebbles that bounced off the surface of the lake. He still held the record in his tribe for the highest number of bounces: seventeen.
While the world is making ‘spirituality’ a cliche, authors are busy making God human. Blame it on Dan Brown and his DaVinci Code? There may have been others before him, but if the trend continues this way it might require a whole genre to itself. In the last couple of years, I’ve read a few books that told God’s story with an interesting twist. I’m currently reading The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi. Am I enjoying it? Yes and no. 20 pages into the book, this is what I tweeted – The Krishna Key is the Indian version of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. It’s like watching Hitch and then Partner. But if you can get over the similarities like I did, it’s a gripping read. Ashwin Sanghi has used myth and history so well that at various junctures I found myself Google-ing for more information and to try to separate fiction from truth. If you are sucker for Hindu mythology and history in general, The Krishna Key is good for a weekend with nothing else to do.
Amish‘s Shiva Trilogy, on the other hand, is something for which you drop all work, make yourself a nice cup of coffee and read from cover to cover. There’s just one problem, the third part is yet to be released. So take my advice and start reading this series only in December once the last book hits the stands. Today, he is a God. 4000 years ago, he was just a man. And what a man he was! In The Immortals of Meluha (book 1), Amish gives us a Shiva that’ll put all the hunks from the Mills & Boon series or any other romance bestseller to shame. He takes famous pieces of Hindu mythology and spins a tale that you wish were real. One of the best twists for me was in book 2 – The Secret of the Nagas – where he introduces Lord Ganesha and Goddess Kali into the plot as outcasts because they are born with deformities (Ganesha’s elephant head is no longer Lord Shiva’s doing but a birth defect). It’s simple, yet convincing. It’s fast, with well-sketched characters and a lot of action. The book plays in your head like a movie as you flip the pages.
The next book I strongly recommend from this genre is Philip Pullman‘s The Good Man Jesus And The Scoundrel Christ. What if Jesus Christ wasn’t one man’s name, but instead they were twins – Jesus and Christ? I’m not saying anything more except that it’s a compelling and absolutely plausible story, one that you will read down to the last word in one sitting.