CHENNAI: Drawing back the string, the power of the universe collects in the arrow. When unleashed, the sheer power of the weapon evaporated the life around it. When 11-year-old Ayan Malpani first read about the mythological weapon pashupatastra, he was instantly fascinated.
An avid reader, Ayan loved to read mythological fiction like the Percy Jackson series. However, when he approached his father, Ashish Malpani, for Indian mythological fiction, he was left disappointed due to the lack of options. “That’s when I challenged him to write his own book,” said Ashish. Thus their latest book, The Tenth Son, was born.
The father-son duo sat down together, thinking of a script and plotlines, finding time all through their day, during trips to football practice, to brainstorm. “The book is set around a ten-year-old boy called Advik. My son was fascinated by the weapon pashupatastra, and so we started off from that. Advik is the tenth son of Krishna, and stays in the US and comes down to India,” said Ashish, an author himself. “My son helped me with writing the character of a young boy. Most of the experiences are based on his personal experience as someone living in the US, like seeing a cow on the road, or having a bucket bath.”
During the course of their extensive research before writing the book, which is published by Tulika Publishers, Ayan discovered that he was fascinated by the ancient weapons mentioned in the epics. “I found out that the weapon vajrayudha was made out of the bones from the sage Dadhichi. It was really creepy but very interesting. So I tried to bring that into the story as well,” said Ayan, and his father added that the research helped his son understand the rich heritage. Ashish found himself working outside his comfort zone, as his first book, titled Ten Days in October, was a thriller. “This was the first time I was writing for children. My son had only two constraints on me — that the story had to be funny and had to be interesting. To his credit, he worked very hard by reading a lot and trying to develop the plot. He was very diligent in finding mistakes and fixing grammar,” he said.
The editing process left Ayan stunned at the amount of work required for a manuscript, with around three to four revisions on the final draft of the book. “I’d like to work on another book, even if it’s with my dad or if I’m doing it myself,” said the class 6 student. “He’s already working on the sequel,” laughed his father.
The book is priced at `265 and is available at Tulika Bookstores or online at www.tulikabooks.com