The Pregnant King

by Devdutt Pattnaik

Rating : 4.8/5

Indian Mythology holds all forms of stories within it, greatest of which is Vasuki’s Mahabharata. Devdutt did an amazing job with it & threw me some more insights. I never imagined that one can write a fiction novel using the mythology. Taking help from little elements from the popular characters of Mahabharata, he has woven a simple & rich story. It doesn’t matter whether you know the actual Mahabharata, it can still entice you with its characters & its subtle messages.

It’s about the life story of the ‘Pregnant King’ Yuvanashva, King of Vallabhi. The story runs in parallel with the incidents of Mahabharata, which are sung by the bards to the King, to clarify his doubts. Story moves just like any other family drama without any war like situations in contrast with Pandavas story. King father died before his birth – the mother  rules the kingdom till he fathers a child – three wife still no child – sorcery is used & by accident king becomes pregnant. That’s all a surface description, what underlies this is rich drama with politics, duties, riddles, dilemmas, sexual acts, symbols, desires, lies and ‘the truth’.

If you get astounded to hear about the 3rd gender,  just wait when you see the characters. Each new character  throwing a new gender, a new state of mind & a new state of body. A man with a vagina, A women with a penis, a homo gender, a hetero gender  & a mother without a womb , a woman with a mans head…well you just read it. Only our mythology can hold them without any repercussions from the present. But all through the story runs the stream of desire, always in conflict with the truth or should I say the truth was there all along. Playing with the currents of change or nature & the stillness or the dharma. As the question of Dharma was raised in the Mahabharata, here also dharma is at stake. Finally, the drama unfolds & gives way to the truth. The novel is impeccable.

Devdutt Pattnaik is ingenious in his approach, just awesome I would say. That is what creativity is. Anyone can reflect on this book, it doesn’t fits in a single category of fiction or mythology or spiritual. It was a great choice just after the exams – breathed in me some new perspectives. I would surely recommend it. Do read it.