I am Krishna 2
Biography of Krishna
Trials and Triumphs in Mathura
Author: Deep Trivedi
Publisher: Aatman Publications
If you are Krishna curious, you may want to read everything Deep Trivedi writes. The book being reviewed is book two in his six-series I am Krishna books. He draws on 15 literary sources that range from the Mahabharata to the Harivamsa Purana to weave a first-person biography of Krishna, the man, the warrior, the people’s person, the philosopher, and the lover who rose to Godhood.
Yes, you read it right. Trivedi maintains that Krishna is not a ‘born god’. He worked his way up to achieve Godhood. The thing is, Krishna is a man of many parts, and no book covers the story of his life in its entirety. In this fashion, every book or scripture familiarises us with a particular facet of Lord Krishna’s personality, and every lovingly told tale hints at the rich complexity of the man.
At 400 pages, the book is 200 pages too many. The material could have been edited tighter, and much of it misses the cardinal rule of storytelling ‘show, don’t tell’. There are too many explanations and internal conversations in the head of the protagonist which could have been avoided in favour of pure action focussed on the physicality or visuality of the events as they unfold. The dialogues do not ring true to the ear. Kansa’s wife says as she laments over his body, “You were so powerful, so strong and exceptional. How could you possibly die! You gave us so much love! Now, how will our children live without you as orphans and we as widows? You looked after us with such care, gave us such comforts! How could you suddenly abandon us and relegate us to lead a life full of misery?” It is good that the Lord kills Kansa in the book much before he hears these words.
Then there is the challenge of maintaining fidelity to the events as they are mentioned in the texts. A writer-storyteller has to create a ‘spine of the story’ around which the events in a person’s biography are arranged. A writer also has to decide what they will leave out. Not everything is usable because there will always be stuff that does not stick to the spine of the story you are telling. Life’s episodes happen in ways and in sequences that may or may not adhere to a particular structure. You cannot help it if life makes
no sense. A story has to.
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