I belong to the pre internet era, the ancient time when summer vacation meant travelling over great distances to grand parental abode, instead of summer camps and play schools and what nots that are the norm these days. It had its pluses and its minuses. Well make that one minus, one had to leave one’s friends back and bond with extended family. Not too much of a hardship!
The pluses were that Ma would be more concerned about her siblings and I would not have her breathing down my neck. Ahhhh bliss! Raiding the larder for pickles and mathri( a salty savory to eat with mango pickle). Imagine my sorrow when I found out that my grandmother actually stocked those mathris and mango pickle in the larder for us to steal and eat. And those lovely atta laddus … And of course this huge gang of cousins to play with. In the night, our grandmother used to tell us tales from our mythology … not the politically correct ones, but the absolutely politically incorrect ones, about how Krishna bit Pootna Dai’s breast and thus killed her. “She was going to nurse him with her poisoned choochi”, she would tell us, pausing for dramatic emphasis. “Krishna knew, and he bit her so hard that the poison mixed with her blood and she died!”
Serves Pootna right for trying to poison the baby by applying poison on her breasts, we would think, and burst into enthusiastic cheers.
Now I can feel a slight bit of sympathy for poor Pootna .. what a way to die!
A huge favorite with us was the Samudra Manthan or the Churning of the Ocean of Milk. This story appears in the Bhagvad Purana, the Mahabharata and the Vishnu Purana.
Stories like these are rich and as a writer I would love to tap them, play with them and see what I can make out of them. My latest novel Hilawi is just one such attempt.
And its a learning curve. This fascinating story about gods and demons forming an uneasy alliance to churn magical objects out of the ocean is ours…. but not ours alone, as I realized during the course of writing HILAWI
A rather stylized painting of the churning of the ocean by the devatas and the danavs (gods and demons) from our mythology.
The image below is the centerpiece at the Suvarnabhoomi Airport at Bangkok
So this is a story we share with our neighbours in Asia.
And this story forms the crux of my novel HILAWI. Here is the book trailer
Here is the book trailer