The Thirteenth Day
Mahabharatha has always fascinated me. We have heard about all the famous names like Arjuna, Karna, Bhima, Yudhistra, Druyodhana and so on. The 13th day is a take on Kurushektra War, telling its story from the eyes of Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna; successor of the Pandava Clan.
The story is told describing each day and night incidents of the war. Starting from the 10th night, the day that The Great Bhishma Pitamahan falls till the 13th night. The days are filled with their fight details, from the perspective of Yudhishtra, Radheya (Karna) and Abhimanyu. I like how Aditya Iyengar chose to use the name Radheya instead of Karna. To know how this two names came about you will need to read up a brief history on this great man. Nights on the other hand, is where the war tactics are discussed, how killing hundreds of people in a day changes a man and a life of a soldier in a battle field is carefully painted.
Aditya Iyengar, has done a great job in putting so much details in his writing, as I read through his words I can imagine these 3 days of the war in my head. Which is very impressive for me. His writing let’s us figure out characteristics of these people and the part that they have played in the war. To pick a less talked about character and paint a story entirely around him is commendable.
Favourite pick from the book: Yudhishtra on the 12th day.
We had gotten used to death. We spent the whole day dealing with it, and the night lying close beside it. Soldiers reported visitations from spirits, mostly of warriors they had slayed . Arjuna had mentioned this in a talk he gave to the officers before battle. He had told them to try finishing duels as quickly as possible without observing the features of the person they killed. It will haunt you, he added quietly.
The thirteenth day; A hundred thousand men he slayed