Friday, May 7, 2010

‘I owe it to the writer in me to be unfettered’

So many books in such a short while, even as you keep switching genres all the time. With the release of your fourth novel, are there any secrets you would share about the writing process?

I suppose I keep switching genres with each of my novels because I need to make the process of writing as interesting as it can be for myself first. I would like to think that only by doing so would I be able to keep my writing fresh and challenging. There are no real secrets but I do know for sure that before the writing I need to put in a certain amount of research to be able to give the story telling an interesting twist. And once the process of writing begins, everything and anything becomes grist for the mill. I suppose if there is a secret, it is this: that I won’t rush myself until the last word is written, and I keep telling myself that until the book goes to press there is room for change.

Why does Meera imagine she is Hera, the Greek goddess? In what ways, did you feel, were the women in Indian mythology insufficient for this purpose?

Meera is the child of a strongly anglicised upbringing. In all probability she would have read the Greek myths before she read any of the Indian myths. So there is a natural affinity that she feels for Greek mythology rather than our Indian one. And so when she locates herself in the world of mythology, she finds herself a Greek parallel rather than an Indian goddess to build an intrinsic connection with.

The other aspect, of course, is that as someone who has read Indian mythology extensively and delved into it for two books of mine (Mistress and The Puffin Book of Magical Indian Myths) I failed to find an Indian goddess who was the composite of good and bad, strength and vulnerability, love and hate, naivety and manipulation all at the same time. Our myths tend to depict a woman as either a goddess or a she-devil. The only one I could think of was Draupadi but she wasn’t a goddess and her story wouldn’t have fitted Meera’s as well as Hera did. Or even suited someone like Meera who did see herself as the queen of the world. Her world, at least!

While there may be some character in our puranas, who would have been as apt as Hera perhaps, unless one was a myths expert the chances of stumbling upon a goddess as human as Hera is very unlikely. And Meera isn’t that so it would have been a flaw in characterisation for me to have used such an Indian parallel.

Full interview here New Indian Express

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