Having loved what the Percy Jackson books did for Greek myth, I have for long wondered if we would ever have something on Indian mythology. Something that would contemporarise our gods and goddesses, and bring out their fun side. Something that would demystify our myths. And that’s what mythologist and author Devdutt Pattanaik has set out to do with his Fun in Devlok series.
In Shiva Plays Dumb Charades, the mighty Shiva joins a group of kids and shows how much the gods too enjoy games. In this one, the elaborate complexity of Shiva’s appearance is broken into bite sized chunks, from what is the moon doing in his hair, to the waterfall, to the snake around his neck, his pose and so on. Like in the other books, the story is used to introduce Shiva and the most interesting aspect is the use of puzzles and dumb charades to do that. I think the books work best when a parent can read it with the child.
It’s not a read-aloud but it can be a tad overwhelming for a child to find so many details.
There are four other titles in the series: Indra Finds Happiness, Gauri and the Talking Cow, An Identity Card for Krishna and Saraswati’s Secret River.
All in all, a great way to introduce kids to Indian mythology, in place of the usual retelling of a story that Vyasa or Valmiki once narrated. Devdutt Pattanaik’s forte is mythology. He has written extensively on the subject and is perhaps the right person to draw out the best stories to be retold for today’s kids.