How a movie or a book ends makes it memorable! That makes the piece of art stay with us much longer. In recent times, there is one instance that strikes my mind where the work still resonates with people.
When the book came out in February 2013, it was a topic of heated debate. The ending of the book was quite different than how the people expected it to be. This unexpected ending got tongues wagging that the denouement of the book was a stretch. There were others who defended the ending of the book. It made sense to them.
During the time I was a part of the latter group but I gave in to peer pressure to accept that the ending was a stretch. But if you were familiar with mythological story of the central characters of the book, the ending was in line with the mythological story. The story of Shiva and Sati.
The final book of the Shiva trilogy by Amish Tripathi, the ‘Oath of the Vayuputras’ ends where the mythological story of Shiva and Sati ends. The story narrated by Amish in the trilogy is loosely based on the ancient Indian text, the Shiva Purana.
According to the Shiva Purana, the story goes this way. Goddess Sati was born as the daughter of Daksha. She wanted to get married to the Mahadev but her father was against it. She underwent severe penance to be noticed by Shiva. And despite objections from her father Daksha, Sati went on to marry Shiva. They lead a blissful married life.
One fine day, Daksha organised a yagna. He deliberately chose not to invite Shiva to the grand yagna. When Sati saw all the other Gods and Goddesses leaving their abodes, she asked her handmaiden where they were going. Coming upon the knowledge, they were about to attend a yagna being held by her father; she felt slighted.
Despite the advice given by Shiva not to attend the yagna, Sati insisted on making her presence felt. When she reached the yagna sthala, she was mistreated by her father. Later he went on to continually insult Shiva. Humiliated by her father, Sati decided to end her life immolating herself jumping into the sacred fire of the yagna. Angered by this, Shiva created the avatars of Virabhadra and Kali to avenge Sati by killing Daksha.
Coming back to the book, after the huge success of ‘Secret of the Nagas’ there were high expectations from the finale of the trilogy. The third and final book ‘Oath of the Vayuputras’ lived up to its expectation. But it did not give the ending the readers were hoping.
With Amish ending ‘Secret of the Nagas’ on a tantalising cliff hanger in Panchavati, he left the readers waiting on the edge of their seats. Shiva on his quest to find the evil that plagued their times reached Panchavati hoping the secret held by the Nagas would throw some light on it. Finding out the secret leaves both Shiva and Sati astounded.
The events that led to the climax of the second book left the readers hoping for an epic battle to end the series. The stunning revelations that followed during their discussions with Brahaspati and the Naga Queen Kali solidified those expectations. People turned the pages of their book to read about an epic showdown between the forces of the Neelkanth and the forces of evil. But the way the book ended stumped them.
Looking down the memory lane it was quite obvious the story would have a tragic ending. The mythological legend ended with the death of Sati and the killing of Daksha. So it remained a question how it would fit into the storyline.
A closer look at the books would have revealed the foreshadowing of the event. In the legend, Sati is reborn as Parvati. But in the books, the author left easter eggs for the readers as early as in the initial chapters of the first book of the series. The Immortals of Meluha. A conversation between the Meluhan King Daksha and his Military General Parvateshwar saw Sati addressed as Parvati. The dream sequences of Shiva in the books also foretold that.
It was just that the readers did not pick up of the clues left behind by Amish in the first two books. They subtly revealed how the character of Sati would meet her end. Despite not having the big battle that saw clashing swords and piercing arrows, the climax tugged at the heart.
The way the book ended stimulated the deepest recesses of sadness. Yet, it also provided a sense of closure. This might be an unpopular opinion based on previous experiences. But that is how I felt about it.