Book review | The Last Few Days of the Blue God by Sanjib Chattopadhyay
Author: Sanjib Chattopadhyay
Genre: Mythology, Mythological Fiction
No. of pages: 160
Published on: 1st January 2021
Published by: Bee Books
My rating: ★★★★☆
The great war of Mahabharata was over. The entire clan of Kauravas had been annihilated. The ground was decorated with the decapitated bodies of men. On this blood-soddened field, stood Krishna, the astute strategist and politician. And along with him, the Kuru women—the damned lot who had lost their husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons. Who was to be blamed for this horror? For this blood-curdling carnage? Who else but God himself, who by his own proclamation had descended on earth to rid her off the burden of evil. So, when a mother curses him with the same fate as he had caused on her family, the lord calmly accepts it with a smile on his face. Thus begins The Last Few Days of the Blue God, Sanjib Chattopadhyay's journalistic enquiry into the life of Lord Krishna tracing the key moments of the life of the Vishnu avatar as he walked on earth in various forms—the notorious child of Gokul and the mystic lover of Vrindavan, the slayer of Kansa, and the lord of Yadavas in Dvaraka, and finally the master diplomat who orchestrated the great war of Kurukshetra.
What is a mother supposed to do, when she sees her children lying decapitated on a battlefield? When she sees her children, her husband, her grandchildren lying dead around her? When she sees that not a single person who'd carry the grand lineage alive? A helpless, hapless woman, who led a life devoting herself to her father, her husband, her children and Lord Shiva— what is she supposed to do?
As Gandhari takes out her wrath on Lord Krishna for causing the great war of Mahabharata by cursing him to face the same fate as the Kauravas— that his clan, the Yadava clan, would perish; she reminds Lord Krishna of all the times he had shown his wrath on mere humans. Gandhari, out of her desperation, asks the Lord as to why he always egged the Kauravas on that eventually led them to the war. She demands him to answer why he never stopped her oldest son Duryodhan, if he already knew it would lead to the death of thousands of innocents.
This Sahitya Academy 2018 winner, translated from Bengali to English by Riddhi Maitra, is written from Gandhari's perspective, in an almost-accusatory tone. As the Blue God accepts Gandhari's curse in a calm and cool demeanor, Gandhari goes back and forth in time reminding him of all the important moments of his life— including the time he did nothing when Draupadi's respect was at stake until the very last moment, or the time when he kidnapped his very wife Rukmini and married her against her will.
Written in a continuous rant-like manner, the narration is full of Gandhari's painful and hurting emotions, that's also laced with her anger directed at the Blue God. This book offers you a biographical take on Lord Krishna's life and the reason why he smilingly accepts the infamous "Curse of Gandhari."
Sanjib Chattopadhyay was born on February 28, 1936 in Calcutta. He is best known and read for his witty and humorous fiction. During the 1970s and 1980s, he was the most widely read Bengali author. His style is easily recognized by his use of short satirical sentences mixed with frequent English words and very lively language.
The plots of his fiction, set amidst Calcutta families, endeared him to the readers. Within the confines of these homes, he challenges the moral values of the fast-changing Calcutta middle class. Chattopadhyay frequently uses old men as his protagonists. These aged characters create the spiritual and philosophical edge found in his memorable novels Lotakambala and Shakha Prasakha. His most famous novella Svetapatharera tebila is an example of his characteristic style of story-telling which mixes tension, dilemma, curiosity, pity, humor, and satire. He has written fiction for children and continues to write for magazines and newspapers.
Chattopadhyay is the recipient of many awards including the Ananda Puraskar, 1981. The Library of Congress has forty three titles by him.
I received a copy of the book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.