I love short stories! In a stage where I don't have the luxury of finishing a book in one sitting, I can take breaks after each story and not break my head about what is going to happen next! Each story in "Unaccustomed Earth" by Jhumpa Lahiri was moving. But the most affecting ones were "Only Goodness" and "Going Ashore". Infact, I was unashamedly hoping for a filmy ending not having the heart to read otherwise! Lahiri's style is easy and smooth and with all her stories based in and around MIT/Cambridge, I felt like returning from a trip to Boston!
After finishing Chitra Divakaruni's "Palace of Illusions", it hit me that this was my first time reading the epic Mahabharata in the print form(except on Amar Chitra katha, maybe!). May be because it is an often repeated story in the childhood. And so far I hadn't heard the story after the end of the war. So, the irony of Duryodhan reaching the heavens after a warrior's death and the Pandavas bearing the brunt of the after-effects of the war was new and shocking. I've always sympathised with Karna, the cursed but all of Kunti's offsprings seem to have suffered all through their life for no fault of theirs(for most part!)!
I also realised how B R Chopra's televised serial is so etched in my mind that the actors of the tele-serial were the ones in my mind all through! Having heard rave reviews about the book, I think I had too high expectations that the first half didn't seem to meet. Especially it was hard to imagine Draupati and Kunti as regular DIL and MIL! But with the start of the war, the pace picked up and it was hard to keep the book down.
P.S. - Recently with all that news about Kalki's "Ponniyin Selvan" being made into a movie by Manirathnam, I felt so bad for not having read the novel. I was so tempted to ask my parents to send me the books atleast in installments. I was astonished when someone told me that there is an English version of the novel and someone else has promised to send me the pdf. I know, it won't be as good as reading the original but something better than nothing. Now that the movie idea is dropped, I hope I get to read it and join the crowd to debate about who should be cast as Vandiya Devan!