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Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Author Interview : Anuja Chandramouli, author of ‘Shakti : The Divine Feminine' (Part 1)

Anuja Chandramouli
Read up, the first part of the Interview with Anuja Chandramouli, the author of 'Shakti : The Divine Feminine' (Part 1). In brilliant prose, Chandramouli explains to us why and how the book was conceptualised and finally, written.

In this part, she tells us how the book came about, the similarities between Shakti and the lives today, whether her characters or her storyline took precedence, and much more now and even in the second part, Folks...

How did ‘Shakti : The Divine Feminine’ happen? What’s the research that has gone into it?

The concept of Shakti has always held a certain fascination for me, simply because she is such a powerful, yet elusive presence. My maternal grandmother used to keep a sculpted figurine of Kali in the Puja room and I remember hearing murmurs from visitors that most people would rather not have such a ferocious and not always salubrious presence inside the house.

My grandmum however, maintained that as far as she was concerned Kali was a benign, compassionate mother figure even if she happened to be wearing a garland of skulls and crushing a demon underfoot. I suppose, even as a kid, the dichotomy in her personality intrigued me.

My interest became even more pronounced because the Goddess was a fleeting presence in my reading material and Dan Brown spurred it further by outlining the efforts to expunge the Divine Feminine in his 'Da Vinci Code' , which I read in the course of one night, while in college. I could really relate to it and so nearly a decade later, 'Shakti: The Divine Feminine' happened after come arduous research and intense effort. 

How would you relate the life of Shakti to the lives today? Any similarities?

The way I see it, Shakti has lived a billion lives and more, each more rich and complex than the last, but with an overarching motif of profound simplicity, so it wouldn’t do to imagine that her story can be summed up in three acts, because in all likelihood it has neither a beginning nor an end. 

What I have done in 'Shakti: The Divine Feminine' is to try my utmost to gain an insight into her persona and in so doing, all I could manage was to project the emotional trajectory, of what it means to be the female of the species on the mirrored surfaces of her character that was made apparent to me. My book was conceptualized and executed as an intense encounter that can mean anything at all to the reader, for better or worse.

If that sounds absurdly complicated, then you will understand in part the migraines, I suffered while doing the research and trying to come to terms with her character.

Some may get it, some may not, but it must be remembered that Shakti can be understood not by explanation but with experience. Ultimately though Shakti’s story is every woman’s story and even the story of every man, who has ever tried to make sense of the women in his life.

How much of your thoughts and feelings are included in your books?
Every book of mine has a big slice of my thoughts and feelings. But I never analyse this transaction in my head or heart, nor do I try to figure out where my persona quits and the character begins.

My reality and imagination have always lived in relatively peaceful harmony, so I am content to leave them be without mucking things up.

Authors have different ways of telling their story, with elements that are most important. Between your storyline and your characters, which takes precedence?

I am nuts about my characters. They are very much my babies and I am quite the indulgent mother. 

The trick is to trust them to tell their own stories and try to strike a balance between letting them take shape on paper while acceding to the demands of the storyline.

You can Read the Review, right here
You can also Buy the Book, right here

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