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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Author Interview : Kavita Kane, author of 'Karna's Wife, The Outcast's Queen'

I first started this book, 'Karna's Wife, The Outcast's Queen' out of curiosity. I always had a sympathetic outlook towards Karna and this book seemed like it would give me details about that. I was surprised to discover his wife, his sons and his parents and brother. Kavita Kane has given us a new version of Karna.

The fact that he deserves the sympathy is of course valid but his anger, his grief and love are all important shades to this ultra-generous man, who is Karna.

In this interview, Kavita Kane gives all these points their valid space, and we do see him as a complete man, in the truest sense. So, let’s read on, about Karna, and find out about how the author leads a wonderful life and her true inspirations…

How did ‘Karna’s Wife’ happen? What’s the research that has gone into it?

Karna's Wife was a result of a long afterthought of how Karna's wife would have reacted to his moral downfall, post the ‘vastraharan’ episode where he is said to have played a dubious role.  With what face did this noble, righteous man was able to confront his wife and admit that he had wronged a woman?

And from here, came a series of ideas of presenting Karna - not in a first person narrative - but through the eyes of his wife, who was also his friend, companion, and above all, his conscience keeper.

After a lot of research and reading, I realised that there was not much about Karna's personal life - in fact, even his parents, wife and family are mere mentions and are not fleshed out fully. That Karna was married comes as a complete surprise for many. He is seen either as Duryodhana's friend or as Arjuna's mortal enemy. 

Why did you choose Karna? What is the difference in the opinion of Karna before and after the book?
As one of the most enigmatic characters in Indian mythology, who is largely a mystery, I wanted to show him not just as a friend or a warrior but as a complete man.

He is regarded as the tragic hero, but what were his flaws that led to his tragedy? He was more than being that ill-fated man who was damned and doomed. Karna is one of the most popular, sympathised and the most admired characters. At the end of the book, I think people will love him more for what he is than for his image and understand him better.

How do you think your book was different from everyone else’s?
The issue of being different doesn't arise as each author tells a story in his inimitable way. In my book, which is essentially about Karna against the backdrop of the Mahabharata, I preferred telling his story through his wife. 
And while doing so, I worked on various relationships - not just the husband-wife one between Karna and Uruvi. But the book is also about the changing nuances of personal equations and egos and how they affect the situation and even the personality of the character. The chapters have been accordingly named.

You have written the book from Karna’s wife’s point of view. Would you say that your opinion was perhaps blended with his wife’s?

Uruvi, Karna's wife in this book is fictitious. Vrushali, his first wife is not.  But yes, through Uruvi I could validate some of my arguments!

How would you relate the life of Karna’s life to the lives today? Any similarities?
Karna's is a man fighting against all odds. He is a creature of circumstances.  But he staunchly believes in his own merit and his biggest grouse is that he is not being given a chance to show or reveal his talent to the world. It happens to most of us.

Like him, there are so many under-dogs of the world. He stumbled and he fell, but he rose to a height that was possible only because of his indomitable spirit.

Who was it that told you that you could become the author, you are today?

I am a journalist but my mother always wanted me to be an author. And I guess, it was a combination of that thought and a natural progression of my profession.

What book is coming from your desk, next?

Let's see...

Who is you inspiration? (Does not have to be an author)

My father as well as my mother for the most unalike reasons!

Is there an author you take inspiration from?

No, not any one in particular. But some have influenced me in some way.

Your advice to writers that would like to be published today? How tough is it to be published in India?

The author should be a good story teller – so, tell a good story. Answering your other question with another question - from the current way, authors are oozing out of the woodwork, I guess, it should be relatively easy?
Who are your favourite authors and why?

I have enjoyed all the writers I have read till now - for their individual style, form and manner. I have no favourites - that is being unfair to all of them.

Which book are you currently reading?

What do you do on a day to day basis, besides writing stories?

Live life wonderfully with friends and my family and other animals - Dude the rottie and Babe the proud cat. And ...cinema! I watch at least one film a day.

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