The Elusive One

Elusive One

The challenge stared at me in the face.

I scowled right back, inwardly intimidated, outwardly in my usual combative mode. I also cursed the person who flung that challenge at me. I am not the one to back down from a challenge. Rrrrrowwwl!

Nah I am not!

But then I am rather proud of my bad habits, I wear them like badges of honour, medals that I have won in my wars, rather like a boxer wears his scars and a soldier his medals.

But the High Priestess of Indiblogeshwaris, Vinita Bahl aka BlogwatiG had spoken.

Turn it or twist it the way you look at it. Take on a challenge. Adopt a good habit. Get rid of a bad one. Change something. Write one new chapter. Read a new book. Listen to a new song. Anything, almost anything singular that you’ve been putting off for too long. You have a month to do it. And then post about it on June 2, 2013 only.

I am bad with rules, ever badder with deadlines – so this is a day late.

First the task was to identify something I want to change …

Now came the big question, what was the elusive one I had to change

My older son spoke : Get rid of your “Main Bechari attitude.”

Of course he spoke it in a completely different context. Of course he did not mean me. Me? If this were ten years ago, I’d have boxed his ears for impertinence. But then I have only myself to blame, I put him into martial arts. And he is bigger, more agile, and kick boxes to pass time.

And the “Main bechari brigade”? I laugh at them, scoff at them, snap my fingers at their nose.

Am I not the person who says “Get rid of the concept that the world owes you. It owes you nothing, it was here first.” Eh?

“It’s crept into your way of thinking,” the second born said sagely nodding his head.

Ouch! That hurt!

So I started watching what I said, how I thought.

And sure enough, the elusive one surfaced when I saw paani pooris. I squashed it like a bug!

Me and my body have made a deal, I shall eat right, and it shall loose the flab and keep the sugar level down.

Wow! Look at my saintly halo!

Only to have it surface when that *&^%% flaunted her absolutely obscene diamond solitaire in my face. I stared at it and resolved never to even acknowledge her existence again, EVER! No ma’am, I will not. You are bad for my mental peace.

Besides I do not like diamonds.

Sniff!

It resurfaced again when I saw Deepika Padukone’s absolutely flat stomach, enlarged to a godawful number of pixels on the big screen! She never gave birth, did she? No wonder she has this absolutely unnaturally flat stomach, don’t you think?

If only … sigh!

Backtracked again. I am not giving in to self pity.

And then I read a chapter from Daphne Du Maurier’s Frenchman’s Creek. Taut, well written and absolutely engrossing.

This writer lived long before I was born!

She still lives – through time! She is immortal.

And I love her!

Will I ever be remembered like that?

Sob sob!

Main Bechari

Advertisements

The book launch

The book launch was a grand affair.  Three books were being launched

1. In Pursuit of the Woman by Rajbir Gill

2. Kaashi by an American author, Terin Miller

and of course

3. Chakra, Chonicles of the Witch Way by moi, Ritu Lalit.

And Maharani Preneet Kaur, Minister of state for External Affairs, Government of India was to do the honours.  Oh it was grand.  And for once luck was on our side … the boys and I reached the venue for the book launch, Patiala Aviation Club before the royal highness did.  Phew!

We made it with fifteen minutes to spare!  Wow

DSC_8291

Among the planes

DSC_8322

Kunal and I, waiting for the Queen.

Preeti Singh, fellow author who made it to the function despite a fractured foot

DSC_8325

 

And then our chief guest, Maharani Preneet Kaur arrived, without any fanfare.  And I had an awkward moment.  Here I was all dressed up and stuff and the lady was simplicity and elegance personified.

DSC_8336

 

The Maharani is so “normal” … gracious and warm, I was floored. Hum dilli vaasi hain, here snobbery and political clout of far flung relatives also makes people obnoxious. This lady was gracious and approachable.

DSC_8414

 

Chakra was launched on Mother’s Day and who would be better to unwrap the book than my own son, a trained pilot, an author and blogger himself, and one of the two men I love to death, the other being his brother.

DSC_8489

 

And the chief guest departs …

DSC_8343

 

My thanks to Commander Rajbir Gill, his graceful daughter who emceed the programme and to each and every one who attended the function.

And of course, Kunal Marathe for the hectic backstage arrangements for the book launch.

And the beer and chicken party he hosted for us once we returned to the hotel, making us miss our train

But that is another story altogether 😛

For the entire story, follow these links

From Delhi to Chandigarh for the Book Launch of Chakra

Last moment preparations to get to the book launch of Chakra on time

Get me to the book launch in time

Our first stop en route to the book launch was Chandigarh.  We reached Chandigarh at 8 p.m. and were welcomed by rain.  Ah bliss!  One major observation I have to make here is that people in Punjab haven’t disrespected nature at all.  I mean India is majorly agricultural right?  You go to Haryana, U.P., Rajasthan and you see rampant greed which has turned these states into dust bowls.  Punjab is green, even in the month of May. The air is cleaner and pleasant.  I mean you get out of the station and breathe in a lungful of fresh and oxy-rich air, instead of dust.  So refreshing!  It brought smiles to our faces, and so did the old world courtesy of the cab driver who was taking us to Patiala.

And then Kunal Marathe did something that floored us.  He rang us up and asked courteously, “What’ll you have for dinner?  The kitchen will be closed by the time you reach the hotel.”

Wow!

He must have had zillions of things to do, what with the book launch the next day, with Maharani Preneet Kaur as chief guest and all that.
But he thought of us, and asked us what we’d want to eat!  Kunal, you are a very considerate and gracious host.   Thanks!

We reached Patiala, were welcomed by Kunal and the food.  I loved the hotel, it was so old world and charming, but more of that in a bit.  We simply hugged Kunal and tore into the food like starving wastrels.  Swear we did!  And Kunal sat with us.  He kept telling us, ever so politely,  that he had to get up at 6 a.m. and be at the venue by 7, but poor chap, when the Lalits turn on charm, one succumbs. 😛

We finally went to sleep at 3 a.m.

Kunal had his revenge in the morning when he rang me up at 7 and told me that I was responsible for getting the boys and me to the venue before ten.  And he kept ringing me up every ten minutes or so!  Good gosh!  Talk about pressure, that too when one has to drape a sari and put on make up!

In my normal day I wear jeans and tatty tees, or kurti and tights.  I put on sunscreen, and that is all.  I don’t do girly very well, not even a lipstick.  Naturally I got stressed.  And it did not help matters that after every phone call I rushed to the room the boys were sharing.  They were in a vacation mood, so hurrying them up was quite a job.

I am sure he was chuckling at the effect he was having on me.  Finally, dressed and breakfasted, we reached the venue …. which was awesome!

Ishaan at the venue

Yes those planes are real!  My plane mad son could not get enough of them.

Entrance

And this was the entrance to the club hall.

And we got there in time, before the chief guest arrived.  Yes, sir, we did get to the book launch in time.

And found that I had got my leg pulled oh so thoroughly, by no one but the one and only Kunal Marathe.

Me speaking at Delhi book fair

This was taken in winters at the Delhi Book Fair, at the authors corner, where I was reading from another book of mine.  Please take close look at my attire, dressed for comfort, warmth and ease of body movement.

But Kunal told us that there was a dress code.  We were supposed to wear sarees etc.  And I fell for it, hook line and Sinker.  I even went to the extent of getting a saree made for the occasion!  Heh 😆

Me at podium

Very few ladies were wearing saris, most of them were in salwar kameez.

Well played, Kunal, extremely well played.

But I have to admit, I looked nice.

Other posts in this series :

From Delhi to Chandigarh for the book launch

The book launch

 

From Delhi to Chandigarh, for the book launch

Nothing in our lives happens without drama, not even a simple trip to Patiala.  I think Peter wrote his principle “Anything that has to go wrong, shall and will go wrong” by observing families like us.

We love each other to bits, and would actually blow each other into bits and love each and every bit fiercely and with equal intensity.  That is us …

The trip to Patiala happened thanks to the extremely young and dynamic publisher, Mr. Kunal Marathe of Authors Empire.  He assured me when he took my manuscript that he would be a publisher with a difference.  He would go out of his way to treat his authors well.  My initial reaction was “Yeah right!”

I mean, this is India, and publishers are doing us, the underpaid imaginative breed called authors a huge favour by printing our books right?  All authors know that!

And then he did the unthinkable.  He announced that he was LAUNCHING my book with huge fanfare.  It was unexpected, this is my third book out in the market and never has such an offer of a book launch been made to me.  I mean, which publisher has offered to launch my book?  For free?  And made all the arrangements for a book launch?

And I refused.

Yeah that’s me, perverse, impulsive and without a grain of common sense in my brain.  The reason for refusing was that I was to go for a vacation to Kufri with other bloggers like Hitchy, Monika, Shail and so many others.  I am a blogger at heart, I love the immediacy of blogging.  I can say stuff and get reactions immediately.  I love interacting with other bloggers on Facebook.  I love being politically incorrect, and stating what I feel.  That is what blogging is to me – and the blog world has opened its heart out to me in all these years.  And one writes and gets comments immediately.  And of course I love bloggers meets.

So I said NO.  Hitchy you may please take a bow and feel flattered 😛

Ishaan my first born and often my worst critic pointed out that I was being insane.  He’s a fine one to talk, the header of his blog says he loves weird aliens.  But he dinned sense into my head.  So I ate humble pie and rang up Mr. Kunal Marathe and said  that I have cancelled my vacation to be part of the launch.  Mercifully Mr. Kunal Marathe thinks I am old and therefore wise and gives me respect.  So he kept his opinions about my initial reaction to himself.

And then second born Kartik decided to act up.  He declared that he could not get chutti.  I bravely resisted the urge to put him across my knees and spank him.  I wanted to but he is 5’10” and still growing and I am 5’1″ in my socks, so I regretfully shelved the idea.  The thought did cross my mind …

Vaise he can take chuttis for parties, for after party recuperation, for other things.  But not for my book launch.  Ahem.  I let it slide, reminding myself that they were grown sons and had lives of their own.  See – I am not alwayj thinking of myself only!

Then he condescended to tell me that he would take a half day so I had to book the journey in the evening.  So I booked us by Kalka Shatabdi.

On given day I get up bright eyed and bushy tailed to find junior has taken chutti.  Ahem!

And he has also taken my car and gone to get himself dented and painted.  Wow!  I needed denting and painting myself, but had to grit teeth and make do with a home self done manicure and pedicure.  And various other things to make myself presentable.  After all, the publisher had told me that I was to meet the royalty.  Age shows you know … and you have to make the extra effort – no, not to look young, but just presentable.

He came back at 12 and I perked up … to no avail.  He took older son and left and both of them resurfaced just in time for lunch and general exit to railway station.

Merey Do Anmol Ratan

the two boys

See – I am not alwayj thinking of myself only!

We, like total Delhi snobs, citified and spoilt to the core, first stopped at Starbucks, picked up coffee and snacks.  After all we were leaving Delhi for two days!  And then landed up at the station – in time.  And tackled the massive flight of stairs.  Why oh why dont they have escalators?  I just managed that huge flight of stairs thanks to the caffeine in the Starbucks coffee and then passed out – literally passed out in the train.

No, boys,  I am not alwayj thinking of myself only!  I am old and need to be taken as such!

Yeh drama nahin hai

Whateva …

And we travelled to Chandigarh.

The sons did me proud.  Someone came and requested them to give up their seats because his wife was just going back home after a chemo session.  They got up immedately and gave up their seats – just like that.  I protested

Yup, that one time I waj thinking of myself only

I was washed out, my heart was pumping fit to burst (I need more cardio in my work out) and felt insecure.  They scolded me and shut me up.  Proud of the two of you idjuts.I regret not being able to talk to our fellow travellers, there was a story there – a story of courage, of ordinary heroism, of human spirit.  But I felt too tired to talk to them and get to know it.

And then what did the boys do?  They hung around me, sitting on the armrest of my chair and talking to each other.  They slowly made me feel better and more comfortable.

Just like that …

Until we reached Chandigarh

To know what happened next, read these posts …

Get Me to the Book Launch in time

The book launch of Chakra, Chronicles of the Witch Way

The Witch Way, Chakra

Chakra banner

I always wanted to be a witch. Not the crone, with a long nose and warts on the face kind of witch. More like Snow White’s step mother, I think Julia Roberts did a nice job in Mirror Mirror.

I never ever wanted to be a damsel in distress. That was so beneath me! I did not want Phantom to leave his cave in Denkali or Mandrake his Xanadu to help me out of the messes I got myself into – oh so frequently. I simply wanted to create those messes, engineer them. And then clamber out of them, wipe my face and say Phew, that was fun!

Kind of like Luna Lovegood.

She can smile and spout completely obscure things that actually make sense.

Consider this, this is not Luna Lovegood’s statement but mine, and I am quite proud of it …

As far as I can tell, worrying about anything at all is a pretty good indicator that one has begun thinking that their joy and prosperity will somehow hinge on pending physical events, other people, or angry green Martians.

Can you imagine?!

Now before you ring up the Lunatic Asylum in Agra or wag a finger at me and say E.T., Phone home, pause and consider …

Does it make sense to look for joy in the future on some vague event that may or may not happen? Or worse still, think your joy depends on someone else?

Now who should phone home?

My book Chakra is about not one or two but three girls who may or may not be grey eyed, but one thing they definitely are, they are witches and a barrel load of trouble.  They follow the Yogi Path (a term they consider unkewl and so have re-named it The Witch Way).

I am in love with the cover – those eyes are mesmerizing.

Chakra

What do you think?

Leaving you all with a small couplet I used to bug folk with when I was a kid

Which Way did the witch go?
And which witch was it?

We don’t need your education

Dear S. Chand and others of your ilk

I had utmost respect for the high quality of your books and thought you were a great force in the field of education in this country, but not any more.

I have just now stumbled upon an article at NDTV about your Class 6 text book

The book titled ‘New Healthway – Health, Hygiene, Physiology, Safety, Sex Education, Games and Exercises’ blames many ills of society on non-vegetarians.

For example, it says: “They easily cheat, tell lies, they forget promises, they are dishonest and tell bad words, steal, fight and turn to violence and commit sex crimes.” That’s not all – on the same page 56, the book goes on to credit the tastiness of meat by saying that “it is the waste products which largely produce the flavour of meat.”

Are you sure the writer was educated? Did he know about nutrition? Or Science? Or was he just expelling gas from his nether regions, which I hesitate to attribute to eating cabbage and living off grass – because I do know a little bit about nutrition and science. I also fail to make a connection between your sweeping generalizations about cheating, lying, breaking promises, dishonesty and a non vegetarian diet. Please explain. As a company that publishes text books, you should be careful about facts when dealing with education.

Japanese diet is predominantly sea food. Your writer, (did he have any education at all?) apparently did not even know that.

The Khaps blamed chowmein for poor character and various social ills. Them I can forgive, they are not educators. You I can not.

Perhaps you want to propagate the Brahman spiel which abounds in the society right now. Seriously, people seem to be more concerned with the meat their fellow humans eat than the social ills. Allow me to educate you on our rich Hindu culture ..

Ayodhya Khandam, Verses 20, 26 and 94

Rama is packed off to the jungles. He tells his mother that he would miss his tasty meat dishes.

Krishna actually started the propaganda of Cow being a holy animal. The problem he faced was that cows were being slaughtered for beef and his kingdom was facing a shortage of milk and milk products.

They were both non vegetarian. Are you then accusing them of cheating, lying, breaking promises, dishonesty, profanity, violence and such like things? Do you dare?

Scientifically speaking, herbivores do not have canines but they have highly developed molars.

Carnivores have canines

We have both and hence we are omnivores.

By the way, I have heard that Hitler was a vegetarian and Mother Theresa was non vegetarian.

I think you are non-vegetarian, since you have done all that you accuse non-vegetarian people of doing.

Sincerely

A blogger who is tired of the bullshit being propagated in the name of education and religion

Kunti and Draupadi, Women of substance, Part II

Kunti and Draupadi … amazingly similar upbringing, but leading to such different personalities.  Both of them grew up without mothers.  In Kunti it resulted in a secretive and stoic personality.  Her father Shura, a Vrishi leader in a spirit of generosity ‘gifts’ his daughter Pritha, later known as Kunti, to his childless friend Kuntibhoja.  She grows up lonely, and when just a teenager, she is ordered by her foster father to “sewa karo” the eccentric and irascible Durvasa.  In fact her foster father tells her that if she slips up, both the clans would be dishonored.  Durvasa was much feared, unreasonable and prone to curse people at the drop of a hat.  In these days it would be called child abuse! ….

I also wonder why neither Shura nor Kuntibhoj invited her back after Pandu died.  She bought her sons up in a hostile court.  Wonder how it impacted her already reserved personality?

She was lovely, Pritha means buxom (the ancient parameter of beauty).  Also four gods and one mortal did not turn down her invitation … so one can safely assume that she was irresistible.

Is it just me or has it occurred to others how she managed to keep Karna’s birth a secret? The courts of both Shura and Kuntibhoj, the maids, the waiting women all  blissfully slept through Karna’s birth and abandonment.  Well!  Parental neglect of colossal order.

Like Ahalya, she is curious and invites Surya.  He comes, and though she is hesitant, he cajoles her, browbeats her, and threatens to consume/burn the kingdom if he is not satisfied.  Rather like Indra who browbeats Ahalya when she tells him she can see though his disguise.  She gives in, only after she obtains two boons – that she would be virgo intacta and her son would have special powers.  She was intelligent, did not sacrifice all for a tumble in the hay, even if it was a God she was tumbling in said hay with.

Smart woman our Kunti was, when Durvasa tells her to ask for a boon, she says : Grant me a boon that will be of use to me in my future.  I can’t see the future, you can.

She is faced with a strange situation.  Her husband is impotent, and he exhorts her to give him sons from other men.  Wonder what went on in her mind at that time?  Granted she already had an illegitimate son – but being virgo intacto, she would have dismissed that, brushed it under the carpet.

Pandu first commands her to do this – give him sons from other men, she refuses.  He cites scriptures, she refuses.  Finally when he grovels at her feet, she agrees.   To add insult to injury he also begs her to give Madri the mantra.

 Draupadi

The description of hers that sticks to my mind is “nathavati anathavat “  Husbanded yet unprotected.

She is the dark one, also known as Krishnaa.  Born from fire and as fiery as they come.  She’s born full grown, and poets wax eloquent on her seductive beauty, her temper and her pride.  Snob she definitely was – and was definitely not humbled by her strange polyandrous marriage.  She wore it like a badge of honour.

Five husbands … and yet none rose to rescue her during her disrobing.

Brilliant mind – she questioned the court on how could Yudhisthir have wagered her when he had lost himself.  She screamed at the elders in the court for witnessing and allowing her disrobing.

Something that I was not aware of, but found in my reading:  She was given three boons Dhritrashtra, she asked for her husbands’ freedom, their weapons and then refused the third.  She could have asked for anything, including her palace which she loved, but did not.  Proud lady, I admire her.

May be she did not need her husbands’ protection; she was a force to reckon with on her own.

Something about Draupadi that one wonders about:

She had a lonely girlhood, with just her brother as a companion.  Her father’s wives and other women of the court envied her beauty and feared her fiery nature.

She was attracted to Karna – but insulted him to protect her twin brother, who would have gone to war to avenge the perceived insult of his sister being married to a charioteer’s son.

Won by Arjuna, but shared by him and his brothers

Wagered in a game of dice

Had children but was never a mother to them.

This would have broken a lesser woman.  Not her.  She was very strong

One a side note, one wonders what she thought of her husbands, renowned warriors, sons of Gods and yet … so weak in comparison to her.

And what her relationship with Kunti was … Kunti stayed back with Gandhari rather than live with her sons and Draupadi.

 A similar post with much more scholarship and deeper understanding of them than mine by Pradip Bhattacharya.  Thank you Sanjana Iyer for the link.

 

 

Women of Substance in our Mythology

As a reader who loves fantasy and as a fantasy author, I keep reading mythology.  While mythology reflects, like all pieces of literature, the customs and ethos of its time, sometimes myths change in the telling and retelling.

That is when I begin reading between the lines.

This post is inspired by such reading between the lines and also a post by Sagarika

Ahalya, Draupadi Kunti Tara Mandodari tatha

panchakanya svaranityam mahapataka nashaka

 

This is a traditional sloka which exhorts us to remember the five ‘virgins’ (kanya) to redeem ourselves from all evil.

Of course in keeping with the norms, there is another verse that extols the virtues of the five satis or chaste paragon of virtues, Sati, Sita, Savitri, Damayanti and Arundhati.

The epithet ‘virgins’ made me search for more information about these women.  Virgins they most definitely were not.  What was common among all the five was,

1.  They were intelligent and free thinkers

2.  They carved a name for themselves in spite of the patriarchal warrior culture of those days.

3.  They were all woman

4.  They were definitely sexual entities

5.  They had confidence and courage

Ahalya, Tara and Mandodari are characters out of Ramayana.  A few days ago, a discussion on Facebook made me remember Ahalya, the chaste and ‘pati vrata” wife of Sage Gautama.  She was lovely, and it is said her beauty outclassed the loveliness of apsaras in Indra’s court and he lusted for her.  He also felt that Gautama could not keep her well.  Living in the jungles was not the right thing for this beautiful woman.  So he went to her in the guise of Gautama.  She saw through his disguise and still went on with the charade.  She slept with him and Gautama cursed them both.  Indra’s testicles fell off and he had a thousand and one vulvas on his body … the sentence was later commuted to 1001 eyes.  Ahalya was sentenced to perform penance in the forest, hidden from all, eating air and ashes, until Rama came and released her.  Then she would be restored to her beauty, and rejoin Gautama.

My question : Why?  She used to wash Gautama’s feet and drink the water.  Think, sages walked barefoot in the jungles.  Would you?  She stayed with him in the jungle, was a partner in his hardship.  And he treated her so badly.   So why go back to him?  Unless if it was to pay him back in the same coin.  If so, I perfectly understand.

And why is she called kanya?  My theory is that by kanya, the poet means the Feminine Principle   She is a woman, curious about this God who comes and begs her for sex.  She is lonely, knows she is beautiful and yoked to this old sage.  She transgressed out of curiosity and took a risk, knowing full well there would be hell to pay later.  Even her son Shatananda abandons her in the forest.

Tara, the wife of Bali was a strong and formidable woman.  She warns Bali not to accept Surgriva’s challenge on face value.  Wisely she tells him about Sugriva’s recent alliance with Rama. Bali does not listen and gets killed. Tara wants her son Angada to be Crown Prince, and to that end becomes Sugriva’s consort.  She even comes to Sugriva’s rescue and faces Laxman when he attacks Kishkinda in towering rage, pleads with him, and gently calms him down by pointing out that even sages are victims of lust, Sugriva was a mere monkey, so how could he not succumb to it?  Valmiki says that she went to meet Lakshmana with her eyes half closed, her gait swaying, oozing sensuality.  A fascinated Lakshmana stopped in his tracks and Kishkinda was saved.  Whoah!  Not the first time a woman sexed up to buy peace … certainly not the last.

Mandodari, strong, free, independent thinker …In the Adbhut Ramayana, there is this small nugget of information.  Mandodari goes against Ravana’s warning not to drink from a pot where he has stored the blood of the ascetics – why he did that is not explained.  She drinks, becomes pregnant and when she has a baby girl, she abandons the baby in a far off place, which happens to be the field which Janaka ploughs and finds Sita …

Unsurprising then, that Hanumana mistakes Mandodari for Sita

Like Tara she counsels her husband wisely, and like Bali he does not listen to her.  At least she made him reconsider his desire to rape Sita.  Like Tara she married her husband’s killer brother.  Was there a custom to marry the ruling queen to gain the throne?

If so, they wielded considerable power.  They were pragmatic too.  They married the successor to ensure that the kingdom prospers and there is an end to blood shed.

Kunti and Draupadi … fascinating women.  The next post will deal with them.  They are such strong characters that I don’t want to club this mother in law, daughter in law duo with the others.

 

 

HILAWI

 

Flipkart link to Hilawi 

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

 

 The Flipkart link to the book