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Title – Draupadi

Author – Koral Dasgupta

Type – Fiction  / Mythology

Reading Prompt – #3 – Featuring Mythology


Draupadi is the third book in the Sati series. Koral Dasgupta has also authored books on Ahalya, Kunti, Mandodari & Tara. 

Retelling mythology, which is as unfathomable as an ocean, is tricky. However, judging by the number of books churned out in this genre, it seems to be the flavour of all seasons. Authors like Amish & Devdutt have cashed on this trend, and are now literary superstars. Despite having read quite a few retellings of the epics, I was unaware that the five women mentioned in the first paragraph are also referred to as Panch Kanyas. 

Now the question is – Has Koral Dasgupta done justice to the fiery character of Mahabharata? 

Technically speaking, I didn’t find any fault with the book. The writing is flawless and lucid. The narrative is non-chronological. Since I am familiar with the plot, I didn’t have any problem adjusting to the constant leaps between the timeframes. Draupadi’s dialogues with her friend Krishna are interspersed between the paragraphs, and they take the story forward. Koral also focuses on the relationship between the wife of the Pandavas and Bheeshma. The old man is at ease with the young woman & lays bare his soul.

I am quoting some lines which appealed to me.

Arjun is after all a human, Draupadi. His attendance is inspiring but not devoid of limitations. Krishna is godly. Imbibe that power. The flute covers a radius, an arrow is unidirectional.

That’s how power operates; the wrath of the mighty is often inflicted upon the harmless. 

You must be wondering why I mentioned ‘technically speaking’ in a previous paragraph. Draupadi is no doubt an extremely well-written book, but as a reader I have reached the saturation point when it comes to this genre. One might argue that our vast epics are open to various interpretations, but the sense of familiarity that inadvertently creeps in hinders the joy a reading experience provides.

The onus of not quite enjoying this book rests on me. To all those who remain fascinated by mythology, this would make for an interesting read. Aspiring writers who attempt this genre will have quite a few takeaways from Draupadi. 

A part of me wants to explore the other stories written by Koral. Maybe at a later stage, I might give in and have another go at broadening my horizon.


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