But unfortunately for her chastity, he did ramwyana he was courteous and kind — and this proved to be her undoing. Aurey in an era of game of thrones. AmazonGlobal Ship Orders Internationally. The four side stories are interesting tales in themselves.

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This vague middle ground that Menen straddles stems from the fact that his writings eschew any discernible ideology, even that hallowed literary ideal of seriousness. It is from this precarious gaze that Menen wrote Rama Retold or, simply The Ramayana, as my dog-eared, secondhand American edition is titled.

At the time the book was published in , no side would have the iconoclast. His efforts to " secularise a religious book " seemed like the natural course to take in the fledgling republic, but this endeavour, according to Menen himself, was nipped in the bud by an uncertain Jawaharlal Nehru who was "afraid of being criticised. In another corner, the conservative statesman C Rajagopalachari, who would soon come out with an abridged English translation of the Ramayana by both Valmiki and by the Cholan Tamil poet Kambar, offered the rather puerile criticism that the book was "nonsense but of the unreadable kind, i.

Thus the book was unceremoniously banned from being imported into India it was originally published in England in , and the ban is upheld to this day. But not by me. My job in life is to write books, not chew the cud over them. Menen pays no subservience to the sacrosanct.

In the introductory passage he positions his re-telling as an attempt to wrestle the grand narrative away from the claws of the Brahmin orthodoxy, under whose purview, he felt, the story had been distorted beyond belief. Menen keeps returning to the inherent flaws of Brahminical thought in long, dialectic passages, chapter after chapter, like an obsessive compulsion, but never at the cost of good humour.

He is a pugilist of common sense. Nobody in the great epic is spared. We must put up with her. He is a master of the stealthily placed landmine: a singular, pithy sentence at the end of a passage that is completely worth the mental gymnastics one endures traversing the rich terrain of his ideas. Heaven was a place much better than Rome. His carefully considered dark humour stems from experiences and observations that anyone who has steeped in the soil of the Indian subcontinent would be more than familiar with.

Instead a musical performance became a desperate business in which both the listeners and performers tried to display their erudition. A man from the audience took the opportunity to answer the question for her by bellowing in the negative and descending into a fit of manic, dissonant laughter. Since the first two pass our comprehension, we must do what we can with the third. We welcome your comments at letters scroll.


Rama Retold

Though I never met him personally, he apparently was a regular visitor to the British Library, that I too used to frequent in the early s. He at that time reportedly looked like a Biblical prophet, with flowing white hair and beard, as he pottered about in the library and the nearby coffee house. Hard to miss, but unfortunately, I The reason I picked up this book was that Aubrey Menen, an Irish-Indian satirist, used to live until his death in in Trivandrum, the city where I grew up. Hard to miss, but unfortunately, I never saw him. The Ramayana is his retelling of the epic of the same name. Dasaratha himself is a dissolute and lecherous old man, and Rama is an earnest and well-meaning, but rather naive and none-too-bright young man, given to noble gestures and grand sounding sentiments, the meaning of which he himself does not fully grasp. Sita is rather ordinary, "a good woman, a good wife, and a simple soul.


The Ramayana as Told by Aubrey Menen


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