Updated: Oct 14, 2021
Author: Suhail Mathur
Total Pages: 308
Total approximate words: 72000
The Hunt for Rama’s Bow, is the ‘Adventure one’ from the series ‘The Vishnu Chronicles’. I got this book as a hand out from my sister, who in her own way love books, a selected few rather I would say. Other than dresses, books are what we exchange with each other as our way of saving the cost and still have more books and dresses. Classic book lovers right! Back to the book, the story is based on characters from the Hindu mythology Ramayana. If you are not from India, Ramayana is basically a long epic story like the ‘Lord of the Rings’, but is considered of religious significance. The main characters of the epic are worshipped on a massive scale by the Hindus all over the world. So, if you like reading mythological stories, you may dig into this one!
The protagonist Mohan, studying in Delhi University, is the perfect bachelor... physically attractive, intelligent, teacher’s favorite and has the hottest girl of the University as his girlfriend. Samaria, every man's dream girl, is the girl friend, daughter of a minister and wears brands like Jimmy Choo and Versace to college. They both are history students.
Out of the blue, Mohan gets a letter one day from his bed ridden grand father to come and visit him in a place called Sahastrapur. Around the same time, he also sees a hooded floating entity, more than once, who mysteriously disappeared every time after lurking around for some time. According to Mohan, his grandfather was long dead, before even his parents passed away. But nevertheless, he decides to take a bus to this village where his supposedly grandfather wants to see him before he leaves for the heavenly abode. His best friend Raj, a movie buff and an admirer of Mohan’s wit and intelligence accompanies him to this trip to Sahastrapur.
Once at his grandfather’s palatial home, Mohan is told that he is destined to kill the evil king of the Asuras Dashavanakoka and marry princess Alankrita who is a captive of the demon king. With the help of random strangers who turn out to be possessed with magical powers, Mohan decides to take on the adventure by going back to time, seven thousand years ago.
Once, the group reaches its destination, they figure out that they have to solve numerous puzzles, obtain celestial weapons, including a golden chariot and slay many powerful guards of the demon king to make it to the Fortress of Dashavanakoka.
Throughout the mythical journey, Mohan saves the group, by solving puzzles with his ever-shining intelligence. In one such occasion, the group had to fight a demoness that had the power to turn any human into a statue of copper. Mohan uses the camera from his cell phone to trick the one-eyed demoness to see her own reflection and her own boon backfired on her as she turned into a copper statue herself. Later on, one of his friends from the group made Mohan an armor of the copper statue which happened to save Mohan’s life many times through out the journey by reversing the direction of the arrows directed at him back to his enemies who were shooting. In yet other occasion, Mohan kills a Tiger all by himself in the deep forests of Zahoba. He further solves a puzzle given by another demoness in the Thar desert all by himself using his intellect.
Through out the journey, at various points, Mohan learns surprising yet significant information about the characters of Ramayana from his friends. He also learns that two of his friends Jayadev and Ranvijaya were in fact Raavan and Kubhkaran in their previous lives. These two friends use their magical powers to help Mohan defeat one of his enemy, the Jalasur, who was sent by Dashavanakoka. In a separate incident Mohan defeats three Ogres all by himself by the use of some Chili powder and the powerful sword of Bhavani that one of his friend stole from the National History museum in Mumbai.
After many such fights with demons and creatures of magic, the group finally reaches the kingdom of Dasavankoka with all the celestial weapons needed to defeat the demon king. As the group rests for the night in an abandoned hut inside the jungle, three of Mohan’s friends are abducted by the Kaal Sarps who consisted the army of Dasavanakoka. By next morning, when the remaining three people including Mohan realised that there friends were abducted, he requests Jayadeva, and Ranvijaya, the ones with the magical powers to go and save them while he will look for the golden chariot which was the second last thing he had to find in order to defeat his enemy. As fate would have it, by the time Mohan comes back to the hut, he finds all the other celestial weapons missing from there. A dejected Mohan this time finds help from Vibhishan, who had the boon to walk on earth until the end of the time, also known as Chiranjeevi. Mohan finally finds the weapons and also comes to know the whereabouts of the golden chariot.
Unable to find the abducted friends in the prison dungeon, the two friends return with another prisoner who was taken into captivity by Dasavanakoka after conquering the kingdom Virajaditya, father of Princess Alankrita. The prisoner shares information about the five remaining wheels for the golden chariot.
The group declares war by the next morning. Once again with Mohan’s intelligence, many of the Kaal Sarps are killed by their own arrows after they bounced back from Mohan’s armor. But the sheer number of Kaal sarps outnumbered Mohan and his friends by thousands. In order to help Mohan continue the fight, Jayadev and Ranvijaya create a safety valve around them. All kinds of weapons were futile now as the safety valve protected them inside while letting Mohan shoot arrows to the enemy. Seeing this, the demon King orders the entire army to take their original form of snakes and attack the safety valve. Unfortunately, the transparent safety valve was rendered useless as soon as the snakes spit their venom onto it. Just at the right time, appeared the mighty bird and yet another mythological bird from the Ramayana, the Garuda. The gigantic bird who is the sworn enemy of the snakes, caught hundreds of snakes at once with its claws and took them to the other side of the forest. The bird continued doing so until it got rid of all the snakes. Jayadev exclaimed in happiness on the arrival of Garuda and thanked Lord Vishnu for sending the bird at the right time. Garuda then lifted Mohan’s chariot high up in the air to reach to the top of the five hundred feet high palace, where Dashavankoka’s heart was kept protected near a red flag. Since the demon King’s life was in that heart, all Mohan had to do was pierce the heart with the Kodanda, Lord Rama’s bow. Mohan further strikes the king with the sword of Bhavani, one last time before the lifeless body of the demon king fell in his chariot.
Flowers pours from the sky on Mohan for defeating the Dasavankoka. The princess is saved and handed over to Akhand, the commander in chief of Virajaditya, as the duo were in love before fate divided them briefly from each other.
After bidding their goodbyes, the group teleports themselves to their present time zone, outside the Safdarjung hospital in Delhi. As Jayadeva and Ranvijaya takes one of the friends to the hospital, Mohan and Raj, rushes to meet Samaira’s house. In her father’s helicopter, the four travel to Tamilnadu, to Mohan’s uncle who was a historian and archeologist to tell him about the whereabouts of the stones used to make the original Raam Setu. Mohan was informed about the stones by Vibhishan who narrated how Kumbhkaran’s gigantic dead body fell into the ocean and pushed the rocks further deep into the sea bed.
Mohan’s uncle elated at the new piece of information seeks the permission of his superior to do the required investigations to find the rocks for real. With the combined initiative of both the Indian and the Sri Lankan government, hundreds of divers are sent in the ocean to look for the rocks. As expected, the rocks are found and Mohan and his friend Raj are awarded with a huge sum of money by the government for helping find and restore the stones of such historic evidence.
What I liked in the story?
Easy to understand, simple narration. Interesting camouflaging of mythological characters into present day mortals. The author’s attempt to create a story by combining the mythological aspects and the modern-day outlook, with usage of occasional humor through one of the characters Raj, the movie buff. A twist towards the end was quite unexpected.
What I didn’t like about the story?
Lack of depth in the characters. The characters were either from the mythological era, who already had a reputation of its own and didn’t need much introduction or understanding, or straight up modern-day people whose characterization wasn’t indulged as one would expect in any narration. Instead, the characterization was flat and there was no scope for the reader to really understand how the characters thought and why they thought so. Details were missing, in the characters and in the story. Even though there was time travel involved, but how that happened wasn’t described appropriately. Small gaps in the story line. Many, many challenges for the protagonist was described throughout the story to finally save the princess, which kind of made it monotonous and a bit boring.
Pick up this book if you don’t have very high expectations. Readers interested in mythological readings might enjoy the book, but honestly, I would personally prefer Amish Tripathi’s books any day if I want to read such story lines. I kind of dragged myself in finishing the book because that is one of my principles about reading; to finish what I started. I was tempted to close it once and for all after 30% of reading the book. So, for readers who have just started reading fictions, this book could be one of the books to read. It will at the least help inculcate the habit of reading into you. For readers looking to engage their minds, this is definitely not the pick. All in all, I would give this book, a 4/10.
Below is my breakdown.
Ease of reading: 6/10
Character/ Plot building: 4/10
World Building: 3/10
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PS This review is based on my personal reading of the book and understanding it with my own limited experiences.