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Yamraj Number 5003 Paperback – Import, 20 Feb 2018
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About the Author
Mrinal Chatterjee writes fiction in Odia and academic papers in English. His first short-story collection Orissa O Ananya Galpa was published in 1991. Up until early 2017, he had six novels, seven short-story collections and four anthologies published. He also translates works from Bengali, English, Hindi and Gujarati to Odia.
A journalist-turned media academician, Chatterjee presently heads Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Dhenkanal, Odisha.
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You know what a Yamraj is? If yes, then skip this paragraph, or else:
Yamraj, Lord of Mrityuloka, moves on his buffalo with a thick rope in one hand & a mace in the other and take away the souls of the dead.
Let me be honest about this. I’m an atheist and I’m literally not into any of these things. It took me almost 10 days to complete this book.
Seriously, Mrinal Chatterjee has chosen a very unusual topic to write a book on.
Mrinal Chatterjee is a media educator, author and trainer from Odisha, India and works as a professor and center head in the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Dhenkanal. He is the author of the book History of Journalism in Odisha, which is the first major publication on history of journalism in Odisha.
So far his 10 Novels has been published and 7 Short-story collections.
So, the book title “Yamraj 5003” actually does makes sense while reading the book. This story clarifies many mythological stuff and questions many others. I’m not saying it is something of a revolutionary mythological book which will change people’s perspective but it’s a simple short read (I know I know, I took 10 days) that is written from Yamraj’s perspective.
Let me start with this. How many Yamraj do you think exists? Well, before reading this book, I thought there must be only one but just think of it. In every 10 seconds, 20 people die. Is it even possible that a single Yamraj can take care of all of these souls? Therefore, in heaven, clones of these Yamrajs are created and then all of them is assigned a particular number. So here “5003”, What’s so special about this Yamraj? Well, by some mistake some cells of a poet fell into his brain and that’s where the whole center of the story lies. What happens next when he goes to his job? Nothing or a hullabaloo?
Just try to imagine the stuff while reading even if you’re an atheist like me and doesn’t believe in God. Just imagine some fiction story and you’ll eventually like it. I was struggling hard while reading the book but eventually, I realized that it wasn’t that bad. Though that doesn’t mean that it is that good either. It’s an ok read and if you’re a beginner in reading or just want a light read, then buy this book and read it.
Also, I don’t know if I should write it or not but I hated Narad in the whole book. Because all he does in the whole book is maligning others.
I felt like everyone on Devloka is grumpy. Most of the time they are angry with something or someone and please don’t take this book seriously (I mean don’t read it like you’re reading a Holy book). Just read it like you’re reading a fiction book with fictional characters!
I used to watch such cartoons and this story even gave me mood of nostalgia as i was reminded of my childhood days.
Overall its an awesome work and you'll definitely like reading it. This book has some meanings along with humor. It tells us that how our smallest mistake can create a big problem and how the hardest and toughest person can even have feelings.
It consists of a simple plot story where Yamraj 5003 (a clone of the original Yamraj) spares one life and it causes a modern media like scandal uproar amongst the Gods. The story revolves around Yamraj 5003’s decision to leave the soul of Sumati, a girl who always dreamt to be an actress, in the world on seeing the face of her beloved, Subrata and his heart-melting love and dedication, who had saved her from a suicide attempt. This deviation from the norms and rules of Mrityuloka enrages Chitragupta, the most scrupulously law-abiding audit officer, leading the Trinity-Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar- to hold a trial to try Yamraj 5003’s deed. The powerful speech of Yamraj 5003, during his trial, to justify his act and question the morality of the punitive destruction that the Trinity awards him dissolves the common forbidding image of Yamraj, as a harbinger of death. The speech diminishes the deep-seated fear and fright that man has for him.
The book is written in mostly third person narrative but there are times a second person narrative is used as well. The author has given the Hindu Gods a human touch. The Gods here behave like office employees. Narada plays his role well as a nosy journalist. Be it the human characters like Sumati and Subrata or be it the Holy Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwar, no role is overused. Mrinal Chatterjee has given appropriate justice to every character.
Written in the pretence of a mythological re-telling, this book is essentially a satire in our present society wherein the author does not leave any stone unturned. He has commented on a wide range of issues including corruption, prevalence of casting-couch, alcoholism, the hypocrisy of gods and believe it or not, feminism in the heavens above. There are hilarious incidents of the lengths to which the Yamdoots have to sweat out just to catch an errant spirit, who after death, still remains attached to their worldly things, which can range from being their favourite chair to the television on which the recently dead human used to be glued on. The author also hilariously points out that the population in the hell is decreasing every day for people are becoming more and more religious and going to heaven as a result. He makes a very subtle but very important point in this absurd plot when he says, “Everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die.” Although a bit grim in its dealings, the author’s sense of humour is very apparent throughout.
Quite an innovative and multi-layered storyline, at just 121 pages, it’s more of a novella than a novel- an easy-breezy one at that, which, according to me, is quite an entertaining introduction to the various characters of Indian mythology and holy scriptures.
Overall rating: 4/5
I received a copy of this book for an honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you Rupa Publications for the copy of the book.
Highly recommended for a easy-breezy read.
It's rare that you get through a novel in a go
I celebrated reading or say this is just wow
Highly recommended read
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