Phew! Just finished reading the book!! Since both our epics make me very angry with their reinforcement of (or recommendation of?) gender and caste bias, I grab any reading material that discusses them unbiased. This book is simply Mahabharata retold from a thinking woman's perspective.
What did Draupadi think of her mother in law Kunti who made Arjuna share his wife with his brothers? Her power struggle with Kunti; her relationship with Krishna; her lack of a relationship with the one with ‘ancient eyes’; all this beautifully retold.
Draupadi tells us her side of the story. She tells us what she thought of being married to five men she did not love. She talks of which one of Kunti’s sons made her heart beat faster. Like Scarlet O’Hara of ‘Gone with the wind’, Panchali pines for the one she can never have. She is in love with a man her husbands hate. Some of her most unfortunate decisions spring from this yearning.
Whether or not you are familiar with the Mahabharata, this book makes an interesting read.
Not as good or as strong as Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’, it’s still very much worth reading.
I wish somebody will write Ramayana as told by Urmila, Laxman's wife and Sita’s sister. Urmila spends fourteen years of Laxman’s exile in learning and argues against Sita's banishment. Even a child without any learning can tell it was wrong but since people listen to learned talk, powered with vedic commands, such a book would help people take a relook at our patriarchal, archaic texts.
Editing to add this very interesting link by Anuradha, who says, "Here is a fantastic interpretation of the Draupdi as she should be seen in real sense a - rebel and dare i say a feminist instead of a victim." Do take a look, here.
Edited to add: And read about Modern Draupadies here.