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Usha Narayanan

Usha Narayanan

Usha Narayanan

We live in a largely negative world clouded by cynicism and apathy. In this scenario, who can inspire us but the majestic characters from our mythology?

In my first mythological tale, Krishna’s son Pradyumna is as human as all of us, with his own inner battles to fight. He combats terrible odds in order to achieve his mission. Like him, we too may wish to take on the corrupt world we live in. So we cheer him on, indirectly inspiring ourselves to continue the fight. Mythology offers me a splendid canvas and a multitude of dimensions that I must combine in order to create an engaging and meaningful story. I enjoy the challenge of showing that the messages of our sages is as relevant today as it was in ancient times, providing a ray of light in our dark world.

Buddhi, Siddhi and Riddhi are an interesting aspect to your book. Our readers would love to know more!

Little is known about Lord Ganesha’s wives. In fact, there are varying versions where he is said to have one, two or three wives, or even no wife at all! They are also considered to be personifications of his own powers of intellect, spiritual power and prosperity. I found it inspiring to fill the silences in the puranas with my own imagination, creating three distinct characters and concocting stories of how Ganesha won each of them over. Readers too are happy to discover this untold facet of our beloved elephant-headed god! I hate to see brute power overcoming the weak and the voiceless. I cannot tolerate women being disrespected or ignored. So I look for stories where they are marginalized and bring them to centre stage.

How did Mandodari react to the great war between the avatar and her rakshasha husband, that too when it was caused by Ravana’s lust for another woman? Was she stoic, silent, sacrificing? Or did she fight for what is right and try to alter destiny? I prefer to believe the latter and hence you will see her in my ‘Prem Purana’ as a flag bearer for love and righteousness.

First, I would advise them not to show disrespect for our gods merely to attract eyes! They must also not view events in our epics literally, for the bards often used allegories and colourful tales to convey a message or truth. Third, writers must remember that even a magical world must remain consistent to its own rules. Finally, they must understand that writing in this genre requires immense effort in order to project the right tone, setting, language and social and moral codes of the time.

When we treat our legacy with respect, people respond in the same way. I write honestly, believing that mythology must enlarge our spirit and awaken our nobler instincts. And I am grateful to readers who have rewarded my efforts with so much love!

I firmly believe that the world cannot prosper if half of humanity is denied their rightful place. It is high time that women got their patch of sunshine, their independence and individuality. My female characters are therefore my tribute to the forgotten women who anchor every victory of humankind.

Usha Narayanan had a successful career in advertising, radio and corporate communications before becoming a full-time author. She has written several books, including the suspense thriller The Madras Mangler and the fun office romance Love, Lies and Layoffs. Her books Pradyumna: Son of Krishna and The Secret of God’s Son have been praised as ‘Indian mythology at its fiercest and finest’. When she is not travelling, writing or editing, Usha reads everything from thrillers to the puranas.