New Delhi, Oct 16 (IANS) Author Anuja Chandramouli, whose latest mythological-cum feminist book “Shakti” has just been released, says that life “is not a cakewalk” for either of the sexes and it is “childish to assume otherwise”.
There were times when she found herself “suffering from acute bouts of ‘penis envy’ because often it seemed like a man’s world where boys had all the fun”, Chandramouli told IANS, adding, “Shakti (Rupa, pp273, Rs.295) is an attempt to try and make my peace with the injustice of it all and understand the dissonance between the genders.”
Chandramouli said she found it “extremely disturbing” to note the escalating violence against women and the backlash was even worse. “There is a whole lot of finger-pointing, name-calling, and hysteria,” she said.
Decrying the lack of any “sensible approach towards solving this problem and making women feel safe in their very own country”, the author attempts to look at the etiology behind the hostility between the sexes and possible solutions.
“Shakti is a celebration of femininity and the inherent balance in all things where the masculine and feminine forces co-exist in perfect harmony, with neither trying to overpower the other,” said the author, who has earlier written books on Kamadeva and Arjuna.
Chandramouli, who has been fascinated and intensely passionate about the Divine Feminine, termed “Shakti” her “gutsiest effort so far”. The book deals with rape and incest in the context of a Mother Goddess who is revered and worshipped with much ritualistic fervour in India.
“It is entirely within my prerogative to move past the strictures governing Goddess worship to take a closer look at the things she stands for and the raw elements that shaped her even if they are not always palatable,” she explained. The seemingly explosive content has been handled with “the utmost respect even at its most irreverent and wicked”.
On deciding which character her next book would be based on, Chandramouli called it an “organic process”. She preferred to “relinquish control” and wait for a subject to show up of its own accord.
She said Indian writing in the mythological genre was going through a boom “thanks to the likes of Amish, Anand Neelakantan and Devdutt Pattnaik”. Her idea of staying ahead of the competition was to “pretend that it is not there and keep doing my own thing”, rather than check out what her rivals are up to.
With three mythological books under her belt, the author is deciding to take a break from the genre and perhaps head to the realm of fantasy. George R.R. Martin, Bill Watterson and Terry Brooks inspire her greatly, and so does Agatha Christie. “Among the Indian writers, I am partial to Veda Vyasa and Baradwaj Rangan,” she added.
(Shaifali Agrawal can be contacted at email@example.com)