What happens when Draupadi, bored of heaven, decides to escape to earth with Amba, Kunti and Gandhari? They land up in New Delhi only to soak in as much of the mortal world as they could.
‘Ms Draupadi Kuru: After the Pandavas’ is an interesting take on the feisty queen, a feminist in her own right, by filmmaker, writer and stand-up comedian Trisha Das.According to the author, Draupadi had “spent virtually her whole life juggling the five of them (Pandavas) so that none felt less of a husband to her than the others. Each had constantly tested her: Yudhishtra with sarcasm, Bhima with fits of jealous rage, Arjuna with self-pity and endless ‘what if’ conversations and Nakula and Sahadeva with defiance and sulking.
“She had cajoled, calmed and even coerced them on a daily basis so that they remained fit to function as rulers without killing each other. Exhausting for five women, let alone one.”
Das says she’s been always a big fan of the Mahabharata and knew she wanted to write a fan fiction novel. “These four women - Draupadi, Amba, Kunti and Gandhari - have always fascinated me and I wanted to try and use their perspective in a fun, yet meaningful way,” she says.
Thus was born “Ms Draupadi Kuru: After the Pandavas,” which she says is “sort of like Jane Austen meets Hrishikesh Mukherjee meets documentary meets humour meets fantasy meets mythology.”
Das says her book, published by HarperCollins India, is not a retelling or a reimagining but a contemporary story which “starts thousands of years after the Mahabharata ended, in present day India.”
Religion doesn’t come into play at all in the book and was never an area of focus, she says, adding “I’ve always tried in my writing to be respectful to both religion and mythology.”
Das chose the character of Draupadi for her book as “I think she most closely represents a modern Indian woman in terms of outlook and personality. She seems to have a relatively modern sensibility and a questioning nature.”
Draupadi, according to her, is “strong, passionate and fiery. She’s intelligent and loyal. She’s headstrong and impetuous.”
Asked if she was apprehensive while choosing the topic of the book, she replies, “No. This book comes from a place of love and respect, not fear or apprehension.”