THE TENTH SON
By Ayan & Ashish Malpani
Tulika, Chennai, 2019, pp. 166, `265.00
HA… HA… HASYA
Written & Illustrated by Ashok Rajagopalan
Tulika, Chennai, 2019, pp. 95, `265.00
This has never happened to me before. I got two books to review and both were about the perpetual state of warfare between the devas and asuras that is the popular template for so many stories of Hindu mythology. It has always reminded me of the Indo-Pak state of loud and meaningless belligerence. Like India and Pakistan, the devas and asuras have been caught in a never-ending battle that no one ever wins. It gave our storytellers the wandering minstrels we call kathakaar and sutradhaar, the perfect narrative base with its readymade band of heroes and villains.
Luckily, here I have two kathakaars of highly contrasting storytelling imaginations and narrative styles. One looked at the world of Mahabharata—Shiva and an asura named Harkasura, and came up with a nail chewing, shape shifting tale of fantasy and adventure. The other sat back and laughed at an asura named Hasyasura who is bullied by his bossy daughter and hates war. Oddly both storytellers turned to Narada and his veena-guitar for some light-hearted moments of entertainment.