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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Author Interview : Anuja Chandramouli, author of ‘Kartikeya : The Destroyer's Son' (Part 1)

Read up, the first part of the Interview with Anuja Chandramouli, author of 'Kartikeya : The Destoryer's Son'. I have known Anuja for a really long time, right from her first book, 'Arjuna' until today, when she has sent me three books to read in a row. I still remember, what I had written in the earliest days, was that I was not too impressed with her earliest book, 'Arjuna', until I reached 'Shakti', when I has written that 'In brilliant prose, Chandramouli explains to us why and how the book was conceptualised and finally written'
Yet, this super author, continuously sent me her books, till she had managed to impress me. I still remember my earliest days when I had just about started writing on this blog, mysef too :).
In this part of the Interview, she tells us how the journey of the book first happened, how it feels now that she is finally plugging the holes in Shiva's sons' phase, and much more, Folks...
Could you describe the journey of ‘Kartikeya : The Destroyer’s Son’?

It has been an incredible journey. Working on ‘Shakti’, a few years back, I nearly had a nervous breakdown, which is why I took a break from Mythology and worked on ‘Yama's Lieutenant’ and its sequel both of which were fantasies.

Kartikeya was a great way to return to something I love. He has always been a great favourite with us, Tamizhs and the idea was to make his remarkable story more accessible to a pan - Indian audience.

I wanted Kartikeya's story to be a beautiful experience which the reader could actually live, identify with and take away fresh insights from while being thoroughly entertaining. Because that was what the writing process was like for me.

How did it begin? What kind of research was put into it?

As a child, I grew up listening to stories and music dedicated to Kartikeya and guess I just wanted to explore further and draw closer to this charismatic character. A couple of years back I did a solo Bharatanatyam piece called Kartikeya or Murugan Kavuthuvam, and it was very special.

Ever since, I have been toying with the idea of writing a book on Kartikeya and when my editor suggested it to me, I jumped at the chance.

As always, I spent a lot of time on research to make sure I had a solid foundation on which to build his story. My preferred sources were from the Puranas and the beautiful songs composed by saints and devotees of Kartikeya.

How does it feel, now that you are plugging the holes in the ‘Sons of Shiva’s phase’?

I tend to get impatient with the tendency of many folks to treat half remembered tales that have been haphazardly handed down as the gospel truth and fight each other over it. It is the height of ridiculousness.

I am glad you mentioned the holes in the existing narratives, because it is important to look past the obvious and accepted versions to arrive at deeper truths and the beautiful essence of Indian Mythology, before it was sterilized and politicized.

This is what I have tried to do in my books on ‘Arjuna’, ‘Kamadeva’, ‘Shakti’, ‘Yama’ and now ‘Kartikeya’. I have reinterpreted the existing texts and used my imagination to arrive at a version that makes sense to me.

And I expect my readers to join me on the journey and form their own conclusions that may or may not be at odds with mine.

You can Read the Review here and Buy the Book right here, as well.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Book Review : 'Kartikeya : The Destroyer's Son' by Anuja Chandramouli

Anuja Chandramouli’s ‘Kartikeya : The Destroyer’s Son’, is not a exactly a book of the lords, instead it runs on a slightly different path. (I think I can talk of at least three friends, who are all named Karthik, or Kartik or whatever else pleases you, who incidentally are all my so-called brothers. Also, a reason for me to read up this book, soon as I received it.)

The book happened to land in my lap on 23rd November 2017, which according to the author was in the stars, since I received it on exactly, Karthigai Deepam.

So, I got to reading up the book. Of course, I do remember it from the days of reading Amar Chitra Katha, but there is the biggest change and that is in Chandramouli’s writing. While, she stays true to the ‘facts’, of how exactly he was born, the main person, who causes the seed to spill, from Shiva to Parvati and the whole deal with Indra, Agni, then Ganga and the nymphs, she adds her own twist to the entire plot.

There is also the entire part of how Kartikeya marries Valli and Devasena, who is the daughter of the much cursed Indra. And Indra is cursed by Parvati, so much that you have to read this book, to realise why. You would understand how and why Devasena gets the better of the whole deal, too. How and why Parvati is against her son, marrying Devasena too? Will they recover from the whole thing?

Of course, the story shifts to Maya, the sorceress and Kashyapa. Through them, the whys and hows of the killing of the ‘demons’ Soora, Simha, and Taraka. They run the entire version of how he manages to be rid of their evil. Oh, and let’s not forget Nesha… who is she and what does she bring into the world?

Was Kartikeya ever a truly violent warrior or was he a compassionate man? Does he also keep ravishing women or manage to protect them? How does he face his sibling, Ganesha? How will he manage to handle most of it and also handle the entire South too?

You can Read the Book, right here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Book Review : 'Unclothed' by Probir Sengupta

Unclothed’ by Probir Sengupta could be a wonderful nostalgic ridden book or it could be a simple diary or it could be complicated account of all things. Which is it?   

Basically, it is all about Onniruddh Ray. Onni at 27 and then at 3 and back to 17 again and so on and so forth. And his life goes on, with interruptions of course. 

His life as a child is full of all the stuff, which we might have done as kids. Remember the childhood friends, the cool birds as pets, the animals at the zoo, the terrible exams, the cool programmes on television in the 80s, the best friends parting, and the good stuff, the not so good stuff and the really bad stuff. He of course, had the pretty girls, and the mean boys, who were his seniors, as well. 

Sometimes, you have bad stuff happen and you don’t realise it. You simply ignore it and move on. And so, Onni does that too.

He lands a job at an advertising firm and is pretty good with his work. This is where he ends up meeting a lady, who offers him a part time job, but with plenty of money. He simply has to meet, quite a few women and men, who kind of have unsatisfactory sexual lives or probably prefer it both ways. These people could be anyone with whom he has to, well, what is the word for it, ‘do it’ and would be willing to pay for it.

Meanwhile, he falls in and out of love, a few times. But then he meets someone, whom he totally falls for. Then, comes an awkward time. His life has been pulled and pushed all over the place. First, with a man, then with a woman, and then finally with a girl.

Who are they, and why do they keep repeating themselves in his life? Finally, a death occurs and Onni is left again in two minds. What would happen? Would he reveal all to the girl? Or would he change his mind, and give it all up?

 You can Buy the Book, right here.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Author Interview : Richard Abbott, author of 'Half Sick of Shadows' (Part - 2)

Here is more to this very Interesting Interview, with Richard Abbott, author of 'Half Sick of Shadows'. Here, he explains how he relates the characters of the book to day to day lives, why he thinks there is a sudden surge in stories based on history and fantasy, and the book he is currently reading, and much more, Folks...

How would you relate the "lives" of the ‘Mirror’, and the people which the Lady meets to the lives today? Any similarities?

A lot of people these days feel cut off from the world by their job or the circumstances of life – just as though their experience was filtered through a Mirror.

Also, the frustration of being powerless and held back from direct action is very common. 

One reviewer saw The Lady’s situation as reflecting that of many women for whom their culture or family expectations prevent much expression of self-will. I’m sure The Lady’s outburst “I’m half sick of shadows” would be echoed by a lot of people.

How do you think your book is different from everyone else’s?

The Lady of Shalott
People usually treat The Lady of Shalott as simply a person of her own era, held by some sort of magic spell. 

I have given her a very different background, a much longer personal history, and an opportunity for a mysterious future which is usually denied her.

What was the most challenging part about writing this book?

I didn’t want to reveal too much about The Lady – who and what she is – too early on. 

But on the other hand I did want clues all the way through. So, juggling these two was challenging.

Why do you think there is a sudden surge in stories based on history and
Richard Abbott
fantasy, these days?

I think that in both those cases, people are looking for some dimension which seems missing from everyday things. A book set in the past offers a simpler life, usually on a smaller scale.
Fantasy offers a more powerful life, where wrongdoing can be challenged and people can develop unique powers. Either way, individual lives become more powerful and significant – qualities that many people don’t believe can be true of their normal situation.

Kim from Wikipedia
Rudyard Kipling from Wikipedia
Which book are you currently reading?

Right now, I’m about ¾ of the way through ‘Kim’, by Rudyard Kipling

So, I’m wandering around the northern half of India about 120 years ago!

You can Read the Review, the First Part of the Interview and Buy the Book right here, as well.