Reviews of Bridge of Rama (2005)
Review by kanjisheik (2007-04-29)
Ashok Banker's fifth book of the Ramayana series, Bridge of Rama, elevates the series to a whole new level. Yet again, Banker has managed to astound readers with this magnificent book eclipsing all the previous ones in greatness.
Rama and his huge armies of vanaras and bears have reached the southern coast of the mainland, and are busy building a bridge to Lanka, where Sita is held captive by Ravana, the lord of the asuras. Meanwhile, Jambavan, the king of the bears, tells Hanuman the truth of his heritage- that he is, in fact, the son of the wind god Vayu. But then disaster strikes- Rama is told by Dasaratha's spirit from the beyond that Sita's life is in peril.
Hanuman, after attaining self realisation of his divine shakti, agrees to leap across the ocean to Lanka and bring Sita back. On seeing that Lanka is not the hellish place that he imagined- instead its the very image of civilization and beauty- Hanuman is surprised and redoubles his efforts to find Sita.
Meanwhile, Ravana has not been sitting idly. After brainwashing his people into believing that he is the person who adheres to dharma while Rama is the villain who committed genocide at Mithila and has come to exterminate them now, he proceeds to play with Sita's mind by acting as the perfect host, and treating her with respect. However, she sees through his plans and wants Rama to be aware of Ravana's nefarious motives.
So when Hanuman finally finds her, she refuses to escape. Sita wants Rama to come to Lanka and expose Ravana for what he truly is, so that people all over the world shall know the truth. Hanuman accepts the infallible logic of her statements, and then decides to send a message to Ravana. Using his enormous reserves of shakti, Hanuman goes on a rampage through Lanka, reducing it to shambles.
After singlehandedly destroying an entire regiment of the rakshasa army and defeating several great armies, he submits to Indrajit when the latter threatens to unleash the Brahma astra. Once he meets Ravana, he expresses his view of the events that occurred ,so beautifully that, for once, even Ravana is left speechless. After his tail is set on fire, he manages to escape and sets Lanka ablaze.
Hanuman assumes centrestage in this book- he is truly one of the best characters in the Ramayana series. The readers can identify with him, because of his immense faith in his lord Rama. Hanuman's total devotion to Rama and his adherence to dharma enable him to overcome obstacles and eliminate his weaknesses, as the scene in the Tower of Lanka demonstrates so vividly.
Banker has evolved with each book of the series. Bridge of Rama ensures his position as one of the finest story tellers in the world today. Whats truly incredible is that you don't even feel the effort of reading the pages; its almost like there is this guy sitting next to you and telling you the story. You will lose yourself in the majesty of the plot, and the people in it. His characters are extremely well crafted; every word they utter is natural and believable. No matter how unimportant the character may be, each one of them has his or her own uniqueness, thus adding to the melange that forms the story.
In a sense, Bridge of Rama is the lull before the storm. Rama and his armies are poised to invade Lanka and rescue Sita, no matter how many tricks Ravana might have under his sleeve. So then, onwards to Lanka! Let the battle begin.
At this rate, I'll run out of superlatives trying to describe Bridge of Rama :~). I think that 10 on 10 says it all!