A retelling of the epic Ramayana through the choices made by Sita is the latest by physician turned author and mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik.
‘The Girl Who Chose’, a new way of narrating the Ramayana is being brought out by Puffin Books, the children’s arm of Penguin publishers.
“The illustrated book aims at helping children rediscover the venerable tale of Ramayana with an insightful perspective by Pattanaik,” publishers said.
Two thousand years ago, the poet-sage Valmiki wrote the Ramayana, the tale of Ram, the sun-prince of Ayodhya, who is obliged to follow family rules and so make no choices. And of Ravana, king of Lanka, who does not respect anybody’s rules or other people’s choices.
Over the centuries, hundreds have retold the tale, in different languages, adding new twists and turns. “But few have noticed that the tale always depends on the five choices made by Sita,” says Pattnaik.
The mythologist sums up the book as an answer to “What were Sita’s five choices?”
Beginning with his first book ‘Shiva: An Introduction,’ followed by a book on Vishnu, Devi and Hanuman, Pattnaik, has so far written over 30 books drawing upon the myths and legends of India and many of those have been written for children.
Books for younger readers include ‘Fun in Devlok’ series, which makes gods and goddesses accessible to all, ‘Pashu’, which sheds light on animals in Hindu mythology and ‘Shiva Plays Dumb Charades.’
The author says he believes stories are like chocolate eclairs. “You chew on the outside – the story – till you get to the soft sweetness inside – the idea.”
Incidentally his children’s books include ‘The Hanuman’s Ramayan’ while other books include ‘Myth = Mithya’, ‘Business Sutra’, ‘The Pregnant King’, and ‘Jaya: An illustrated retelling of the Mahabharata’. Many of his books have been translated in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati and Marathi.