Today we have Author Falguni Kothari here on my blog, sharing her views on ‘Interpreting Indian Mythology’.
Now does the name ring a bell?
Well, I’m sure you know her. She is the creator of the bestseller ‘Soul Warrior (The Age of Kali #1)’ a book that earned a 5/5 rating from me.
Inviting you to check out my review of the book here
Falguni is also the author of ‘Bootie and the Beast’ and ‘It’s your move, Wordfreak!’
Wishing Falguni the very best in all her future endeavors, I bring to you her views on ‘Interpreting Indian Mythology.’ Hope you enjoy the read.
What is myth?
Myth is the story of a certain people. And not satisfied with simply being told such beautiful stories, we humans retell, discuss, interpret and eventually refashion our myths. Which leads to more discussions, disagreements, interpretations and retelling of those stories.
The study of all these beliefs, customs, fables and sacred texts is called mythology.
There are two main ways of interpreting myth: literally and symbolically.
We interpret myths literally when we accept them as a set belief system of a people. Or, as actual history. But, when we use myths to explain moral truth; or illustrate “how things came to be” through philosophy or allegory; or explain man’s psyche with stories of a hero’s journey; or for pure entertainment; or to explain the conflicts or structure of society; or explain natural phenomenon; or as metaphors for the “unknown,” then we are interpreting myths symbolically.
What I’ve done with Soul Warrior:
As stated above, myths can be interpreted in a hundred different ways. Once I began writing, I realized that I wanted to incorporate Indian myths and my favorite mythological characters in my fiction. I wanted to spin a fresh new twist on the classic tales. I wanted Hindu Gods to be part of a modern techno world. I wanted swords fights in a three-storey mall. I envisioned Hell or ‘Naraka’ as a party-zone. I let my imagination fly on the wings of Indian mythology.
The world became a balancing act between age-old myths versus my “fresh take” interpretation. The attraction between Karna and Draupadi has been hinted at in the Mahabharata, but was never actually realized. Not only the attraction, but their imaginary union is hinted at in wonderful, positive terms through the epic.
If only Karna had won Draupadi’s hand in marriage…the entire Mahabharata would tell a different tale.
And perhaps that different tale was called SOUL WARRIOR.
I won’t lie. Just imagination would not have worked. I did an insane amount of research into myths. I read three of the renowned English translations of the Mahabharata epic several times over. Realized that different versions of the myths existed in different parts of the world, different parts of India too. I read folktales, character analyses, blogs, articles—whatever I could find on Vedic India and its peoples. I found P.V. Vartak’s article on one such foray that put forth a plausible explanation for an alternate (unconventional) timeline for the Mahabharata War—which I’ve used as it fit perfectly into my story’s fictional timeline. I poured over maps, got addicted to Google Earth as it took me to possible settings and locations in the Himalayan mountains without leaving my bed. To tell a good tale, I had to know the world I was building.
As the great, late fashion lord, Alexander McQueen, explains: To create my kind of “fresh take” on fashion, I need to intimately know the classics. If I don’t know the classic cuts on suits, jackets and dresses, I will not understand how to manipulate them to make something new…different…unique.
Dear reader, Soul Warrior is my bespoke interpretation of Indian mythology. And my labor of love.
So how was this? Enjoyable I’m sure. Do leave your views/ comments in the comment box below.
Thanks Falguni. Looking forward to the next in the ‘The Age of Kali’ series eagerly. Hope we the fans of “Soul Warrior’ don’t have to wait long.