Your characters are straight out of mythology books, but with a twist. Are you retelling the epics?
It is a respectful interpretation of epics. Modernisation of mythology books has been going on since centuries. Valmiki’s Ramayana has no mention of Lakshmana rekha, but it was introduced in the Ramacharitmanas.
You have presented Sita as a warrior princess, unlike the docile woman in the Ramayana. Why do
You like to change the narrative?
Sita’s image in the modern day is driven by television serials and Amar Chitra Katha comics, but in the ancient versions of the Ramayana, she was a warrior. If the character is strong, it makes the storytelling
Is your Sita a free character? Or does she have to face problems like women in real life?
She is a strong character. In old times, women were rishis, equivalent to prophets or messiahs. We need to revive that high status of women.
Are your characters inspired by real life?
No. I have drawn inspiration from ancient versions of the Ramayana, like the Adbhuta Ramayana by Valmiki in which Ravana was killed by Sita.
Most Shiva believers have tattoos of him. Do you have any?
I’m scared of the needle! Even if I’m unwell, I resist an injection. But sometimes I get henna tattoos of a trishul and damru made.
At a time when there are talks of creating a Hindu Rashtra, do you think it is the best time to revisit the shastras?
I won’t comment on any political issue, but I’ll say we can learn a lot from our ancestors. It is unfortunate that our education system teaches nothing about our ancient philosophy, literature, science and maths.
When is your next book coming?
The third book in the Ramayana series will be out in 2018. Meanwhile, a non-fiction book, Immortal India, is releasing in August.
If we talk of women’s rights, the triple talaq issue was the year’s most debated topic. Your comments.
Instead of talking about a specific religion, we must make sure that laws in any religion should not discriminate against women. Some laws have been reformed, some not. It’s a national imperative to do that.
Are you planning to explore any other genre?
It’s only mythology, historical fiction, and non-fiction for now.
You had said that you have material to write on for the next 20-25 years. What are the characters that you are going to explore?
They are all from mythology. My version of the Mahabharata, Parshurama’s story, Manu’s story, Mohini and Brahma’s story.
Your mantra for aspiring writers?
To be a good writer, one should be a good reader first.
I’ve observed that for every single page I write, I read at least a hundred pages, only then that page will be rich and full of details. Besides, you should also write with your heart.