Book Review: The Deceived Womb by Deepak Kaul
This short story is a blast from the past, highlighting one of the most tragic stories in the entirety of the Kurukshetra War. The epic Mahabharat has its fair share of characters and plot lines but the story of Abhimanyu tugs heartstrings more than anyone else's.
It starts with Abhimanyu as a foetus, fated to learn only how to enter the 'Chakravyhuam' or 'Padmavyuham' and not how to get out. This is a pivot for his story, as it ultimately results in his demise.
As we turn the pages, we see Abhimanyu on the battlefield, faced with the realities of war people screaming, flesh burning and we see him contemplating the morality of it.
One of the things I did enjoy while reading was the novel's dissection of the purpose of the war. Was so much carnage necessary or was it just to satiate a hurt ego? You also get the perspective of Uttara, Abhimanyu's expecting wife, as she prays for her husband to come back home.
As we enter the final pages, we are transported to that point in time, when Abhimanyu is stuck, with no way of knowing how to get out. We witness the side of war that brings the worst out of people as Abhimanyu realizes that he will die.
I loved the writing style, it was clear and consistent. It is no easy feat to write about the Mahabharat epic, even a small part of it and I felt like the author did a wonderful job bringing these characters to life.
Read a sample below and get yourself a copy of the book here.