After a long time, I am reading C Rajagopalachari’s Ramayana again. In my childhood, I read this book without the criticism running parallel in my head and it was, in a way, more of a pleasurable read. Now, I realise that the translation, quite famous and widely read, is perhaps not the best. I wonder if Mahabharata, which sits next to Ramayana on my book shelf, would pale in comparison to the countless times I have read it in childhood.
But despite the translation (which I should say does have its merits, like its simplicity, for example) , some of the epic’s true greatness shines through, and I was left awestruck at the power of a story that I and most Indians know like the back of their hand. Despite the fact that I knew every plot detail, the little details jumped at me. Minor characters, quite forgotten, assumed a life I didn’t know they had before.
So, as one of the most pleasured reads of recent times — Love in the time of cholera — lies unattended next to my bed, I am pretty sure to plough through the rest of Ramayana in pretty good time. And that I will finish a book for sure this time around, (something that I rarely do) is such a heartening thought.