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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Author Interview: Ayush Pathak, author of 'The Temple of Avinasi: The Legend of Kalki'



Ayush Pathak is a mythological fan, just like many of us. But what sets him apart is his willingness to stretch it a little further. And so he has done. Calling it an epic fantasy, he manages to include so many of the Indian beliefs with the worldly ones.

So, we have a Greek mythology with the Indian and the similarities in the ‘gods’ and the ‘demons’. He explains to us, how he saw his story came together and how he saw Kalki, who is the last avatar of Hindu mythology, in the literary form. So, let’s read on…

How did ‘The Temple of Avinasi’ happen? What is the research that has gone into it?

People come across various folk tales and beliefs about mythological beings some of which are termed as gods or Angels, while some others are called Demons. Lord Raam, Krishna, Raavan, Asurs, Devs are some well-known mythological beings. But being mythological doesn’t mean that they are false.

Even after thousands of years, people believe in them. There must be some truth in these myths or the belief couldn’t have survived this long. Only the truth could have a sustaining power for that long, and something completely a falsehood could not survive thousands of years and hundreds of generations.

Our mythology is about Ramayana and the Devasur conflict. The idea came to me that if the mythological races like Devs, Asurs and other existed once, there must be some remaining, even today.

The only possible explanation was a secret brotherhood of mythological races, living anonymously in our present world. And hence, the concept of ‘The Temple of Avinasi’ first came to me.

Kalki is not a character we come across every day. Why did you choose him and how does he fit into the entire scheme of things in your series?

I have been a big fan of mythological stories like Ramayana and Mahabharata since my childhood. The central characters portrayed in these books used to be my heroes. But there was always a tinge of not connecting with these heroes completely because of them being out of our time and their godly portrayal.

You could love or respect a God, but you couldn’t be them, like you do with the characters of your favourite stories. So, I always wanted a mythological character in the 21st century with whom we can connect ourselves.

What better than the tenth and the last Avatar of Indian mythology, the Kalki Avatar. He is the prime protagonist throughout the series. In this book, the Devs and the Avatars are just considered to be superior superhuman races but they are not gods.

How do you think your book, ‘The Temple of Avinasi’ is different from everyone else’s?

Well, for a start, this is the first Epic Fantasy book of the country. Before this, there has been epics by writers like Amish Tripathi, Anand Neelakantan, Chitra Banerjee
Divakaruni and also there have been many fantasies by Indian writers including various genres of fantasy like Urban, Science, Magical realm, Historic Fantasy etc. but never has there been an Epic Fantasy before by an Indian author.

This is definitely a new start in the Indian publishing industry.

How would you relate the life of Angel’s life to the lives today? Any similarities?

Angel is the main character of the story, who is revealed to be the Kalki Avatar. He is just a normal fourteen year old boy with modest expectations from life until he is told that the fate of the world rests on his shoulders.

Even after he realises his identity and his powers, he is just a normal boy who likes to spend time with his friends, cares for his family, is in love with a girl far wittier than him, and is determined to find out the murderer of his mother.

How would you relate the book and its various characters to the lives today?
The characters may be mythological but the story is from the 21st century and hence they show all the traits like cunningness, diplomacy, deception, love and friendship like any other person.

Even the society of the Temple of Avinasi is not perfect and has many humane flaws.

Why did you choose Kalki? What is the difference in the opinion of Kalki before and after the book?

As I explained before, Kalki was the only character that I could take from the Indian mythology whose story hasn’t already been written. All the previous Avatars like Raam, Krishna have their stories told in the epics written by Valmiki, Vyas and others but Kalki was the only Avatar whose story remained untouched.
It took me ten years to devise the entire concept and plot line of the book and in this time the character of Kalki has been a constant companion, a friend and as per my religious beliefs, my God.
I have tried to keep God factor out of my book to make it a justified fiction for the readers.
Any challenges you had to face while writing this particular book?

Many. The book is not just about Hindu mythology but combines all the mythologies of the world.

Blending all mythologies into one was a difficult task and even more difficult was to create a world in which the modern Human and the mythological beings co-exist together.

The second part of you book is expected next. Could you give us an idea of what we could expect from it? When do you see it released?

The second part of the book is named, ‘The Temple of Avinasi: The curse of the
Maya’ and will continue Angel’s fight against the growing darkness.

The second book will further explore the magical world of the Temple of Avinasi. It would be darker than the previous book. The release is expected in 2015.

Who is you inspiration?


Is there an author you take inspiration from?

The list would be great. Many literary giants have created books that become a part of your soul once you read it. I was mainly inspired by J.R.R Tolkien, J.K Rowling and H.G Wells.

Who are your favourite authors and why?

JRR Tolkien, HG Wells, JK Rowling, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Jordan and Vyasa. I won’t be able to give a reason.

These are the writers who have written such master pieces that any comment from an insubstantial person like me would be inappropriate.

Which book are you reading, currently?
Presently, I am working in the second part of the series. I try not to pick any book, while I am writing. My last read was, ‘The Wheel of Time’ series by Robert Jordan.

It is an excellent series consisting fourteen novels and is one of the exemplary book series of Epic Fantasy.  

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

In my daily life, apart from my job and writing, I like to spend the spare time, if any, with my friends and family.   

What is the most fulfilling part of writing this book?

Nothing in particular and almost everything. To get your ideas printed on paper to be read by the masses, what would be more fulfilling?

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