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Monday, November 16, 2015

Book Review : '3' by Krishna Udayasankar


Krishna Udayasankar’s ‘3’ is firstly a short book, compared to her earlier ones. But its subject is different and the hero is only one! And absolutely no heroines!! Okay, there are a few but nobody, as we are used to. 

It is the early 13th century, which is comparatively closer to us. It talks of the Srivijaya Empire, a maritime force with a crown, which has been left pointless.

Emperor Prabhu Dharmasena, a sailor king is now homeless and he has no choice but to travel among the seas. He has to leave the island, which was his home for many years. 

He is accompanied by his kith and kin and the crew of his once powerful force. His last seat of power at Palembang is given up to the Cinas. He tried to make it work; giving up his daughters in marriage to the Emperor and the Ambassador of Cina, but it was without much use.

He takes to the seas and is followed by both his sons. One of these is Mutthiah, his eldest and bringing up the end is his youngest son, Nila Utama. As time passes, you wish for the book, to pick up pace too, but it does not read like the older ones and I kind of missed that. I finished it in one day!

The emperor manages to find a place for Muttiah to rule, as he marries him off to the daughter of the king of Tojungpura. Meanwhile, Dharmasena has to take to the seas again, with his wife and his youngest son, Nila Utama.

Nila Utama, who never wants to be king, is happier looking to the seas until he meets the princess of Bintan, Sri Vani. He falls in love with and marries but he never looks like he would ever rule a land.

Eventually, the brave and tough Nila finds himself in Tumasik, a land which is supposedly occupied by pirates. It is up to Nila to take over this land, and take on the charge of this region.

Just a note: The English name, Singapore is derived from the Malay Singapura, meaning lion city. Sang Nila Utama, who is the original founder of Singapore, probably saw a Malayan tiger, giving the nation, its name. 

But kudos to Udayasankar, for giving the high seas and the voyages undertaken, a plausible account. Of course you have to enjoy them, but once you reach the point of doing so, there will be a shift in the story. Also, missed the fact that Drauapdi had more of the zeal, which Sri Vani's character was just about missing.

‘3’ is a kind of a nice story, but I wish Udayasankar had made it cooler! There are times, when I had wished for a little more with the same touch of adventure and mystery, as she did with her lyrical prose in the Aryavarta series. Of course, the prose is brilliant and there are no points taken from that part.

ISBN:  9789351950103
Publisher: Hachette India
Price: Rs 499/-

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