Guest Post: Why do I write? – By Vivek Dutta Mishra

First, I must thank Keemiya Creatives for this opportunity to connect with such a wonderful reader group as this.

I am thinking of the best way to start   I am glad I could communicate my ideas with you . Well this is how an author writes; I think! We delete a lot more than we write and that is the hardest part of writing. Interestingly some of the Few initial chapters that I wrote and was really proud of them — I thought they were the reason I was writing — are not present in my book.

So why did I write? A more relevant question, perhaps, is what did I write and that answers the why part. Growing up in a traditional Hindu family is like growing up in the world of epics — we learnt the story of Sita Swayamvar more than the story of the missing shoes of Cinderella, which incidentally I learnt only after I had grown up. We listened with rapt attention how Hanuman flew over the ocean and tricked Sursha on the way,  or how he taught a lesson to his younger brother from a different epic — Bhim — who couldn’t even move his tail aside.

But then we didn’t stop writing — did we? And came the reader along the way. Mahabharat and Ramayan remained the most favorite genre with Indian writers after the romance of course. But now a new generation of authors are reshaping the epic tale. We experimented and added contemporary flavour to the epic — after all what’s the point in re-writing the same old tale?

A few years later the original series on Ramayana (Ramanand Sagar) and later Mahabharat (B.R.Chopra) captured our imaginations. They probably changed our epics forever — Ramanand Sagar and B.R.Chopra became the new authors and authorities on the epics and sadly Balmiki, Tulsidas and Veda Vyas were relegated to the memories of the past. And since the authors were relegated so was the art of reading. The art of reading declined.

But then we didn’t stop writing — did we? And came the reader along the way. Mahabharat and Ramayan remained the most favorite genre with Indian writers after the romance of course. But now a new generation of authors are reshaping the epic tale. We experimented and added contemporary flavour to the epic — after all what’s the point in re-writing the same old tale?

So some of us picked up a character and wrote the story entirely around one person — say Arjun, Draupadi, Drona. Some of us even wrote stories centered on Duryodhana and Ravan — and there is nothing wrong in writing their tale. We could show their aspects, their ambitions, and why they failed. But if we make them a hero, then someone needs to be anti-hero too — so we may get a spineless Rama or a conniving Krishna — and there sadly we have The Lost Epic.

As an avid reader of fiction from around the world and specifically Indian Epic fictions, I understand the significance of creativity and fully endorse the fictional elements in the epic. I admire the fact that Laksman Rekha is a fictional element added to later regional Ramayans, and appreciate when someone makes Shiva an ordinary humanon his journey to achieve the ranks of Mahadev! But…

These epics are not just a tale of an individual — it’s the tale of an ancient culture.

These epics are not just a tale of an individual — it’s the tale of an ancient culture. It is the tale of a time when Ravan was the villain of Aryavart just because he kidnapped Sita — he didn’t rape her, didn’t keep her in his palace but guarded her employing lady attendants — he still is deemed as the face of evil we burn every Dussehra. So what does it tell about the society of that ancient India? How safe was the place for women during that period — read through Balmiki Ramayan about the dresses of women and you would understand — no purdah system? Now imagine Ram’s army vandalizing Lanka — looting and raping the hapless civilians. Can we call this creativity? Or, as I feel, is brutalizing the epic itself.

A simple tale of a comic superhero says — With great power comes great responsibility.  Would it still be in the realm of creativity to portray the hero’s  senseless abuse of power and taking the mantle of a God?

No, somewhere in the process of being creative we have The Lost Epic.

All these things inspired me to write my tale of The Lost Epic. It all started with one simple curious question — Why was the battle of Mahabharat a Dharmyudh? Was it just a sorry tale of a struggle for some throne or a vengeance of Some Draupadi or ambition of some Karna? Can such simple conflicts be deemed a Dharmyudh? Why did it turn into a world war with almost the entire Aryavart assembling in Kurukshetra? And in contradiction to  the phrase Dominoes Falling — I experienced a cascading buildup — each question produced more questions. And the story started to unfold in front of me — manifested on its own. I had some plots and subplots in my mind and soon I saw new plots manifesting, challenging me, replacing my ideas with a better plot. At times I felt reading a novel written by someone else, and I tell you it was ecstatic.

That is when I realized,  the journey I started  won’t wind itself in just one book — and a Series is born — The Lost Epic! It took almost two years to bring the first part — The Accursed God!

And yet, I would tell you writing was the easiest part of the whole game — if you are lucky like me and have enough friends to read, review, and encourage you to keep going.

The real struggle starts after I realized — the story is complete;  the book is not. You have filled the pages, word at a time and now you need to remove pages at a time. And did someone tell you in school, adverbs are bad? And you devote more time to reading and editing and then some more to make the book ready — something a good publisher should do for you. But, if a good publisher will read a page of your book to decide if they need to read the next one. But…

Say I got lucky — I got a publisher who out of their genre, published me. Thankfully it happened not before giving me enough time to struggle, learn the intricacies of publication, understand the types of publication, and an opportunity to politely decline two traditional publishers because of their terms.

And as my book became ready to release, I feel a numbness like never before — How would people know about my book? Would they decide to read it? Would they like it? How do I reach the right audience and tell them the tale behind my story? And my research led me to few gracious people who encouraged me, offered me ideas, and helped me reach out to readers.

One such wonderful person is our host , who gracefully allowed me to interact with you, and something tells me that this chain won’t be broken — you would help me and my story reach more people. Oh! I know you will — so accept my sincere thanks. I would really appreciate it if you read my book, review it and reach out to me with your honest feedback.


Blurb

The story of the Epic battle of Kurukshetra has been told and retold for ages. Millennia of dust, fables, imaginations — and the epic itself is lost. What remained is the story of a family feud and ambition of Kauravas and Pandavas. But why, then, was this an epic war? Why entire Aryavart plunged into this first real world-war? Why the echo of this ancient war still resonates after all those centuries? Rediscover the lost epic whose origin lies in the birth of the Kurukshetra that had tasted its first blood over a hundred years before the final Mahabharat war. Discover the complete saga of Mahabharata which goes far and beyond just Kauravas and Pandavas and their ambitions.


Accursed God

Long before the Epic Battle, long before even the birth of Kurukshetra, a man swore on his father’s pyre to avenge against the mightiest empire, any civilization had ever seen. Between his might and near-certain destruction of the Empire, stood a warrior, who rose like a phoenix from the ashes of his seven dead brothers — taking the mantle of a fabled Accursed God.

In the clash that followed, Aryavart heard several more oaths by the side of more burning pyres, until, a young king decided that no price is too high for peace — Little did he knew that the price would be a war engulfing the entire Aryavart,  where few would live to tell the tale. And only one man can delay the inevitable if not prevent it. He is the accursed God and even he doesn’t know that destiny is like a quicksand, the more he tries to prevent it, the faster Aryavart moves towards the ultimate catastrophe.

Discover the saga of a man’s journey to that of a legendary and universally hated Accursed God, the saga of the ruthless ambitions, and unfulfilled loves, endless deceits and vengeful oaths, and the saga of the battles to prevent the ultimate war.


Quotes from the book

Shiva closed his eyes. There were rare tears in them — “You failed me, Ram. Now I have to wait for another Ram to bring you home.”

“The best indicator of a society’s success can be traced to its beggars. A society where people beg because they are denied sufficient opportunity to earn, or they beg because the government seeks pride in feeding them, is a big question mark on the social structure. But we created a contrary doctrine — begging by the highest order of the society. We denied ourselves — the teachers, the scholars, the yogis, and the legislatures, from any personal possessions and resorted to begging. Begging, not because we are not capable of earning, not because we desist hard work, but, because begging gave us the humility and the selfless attitude needed to create the rule for the general good of the society. We, who are capable of earning everything, if we allow ourselves to rein free, we can amass power and wealth, and that would be an injustice to others.”

It’s virtuous to realize what they couldn’t achieve was not worth after all.

Luxury is a great thing — a rendezvous with flattery and luxury boosts one’s confidence like nothing else, and the fear of losing them forever makes men braver than they are.

“Many minor detailing of events that manifest as a personal belief, feeds on fables and goes on to impersonate the truth. These beliefs often cloud the very definition of truth.

About the Author

Vivek, by profession, is a Software Technology Enabler—a self-professed title. In this role, he enables the software companies to develop better software designs, build robust architecture, and most importantly, make effective software professionals. With over two decades of experience as a speaker, influencer and educator, his impressive clientele includes the likes of TCS, Mercedes, GE, Mindtree, CISCO, HP, JPMorgan, BNP Paribas, Honeywell, L&T, Walmart, Siemens, Capgemini …

But long before associating with software technology, he has been passionate about Indian history and epics and did an extensive study on the subject. With over three decades of study of authentic texts of Indian epics like BORI and KMG version of Vyas Bharata and Balmiki Ramayana and armed with a firm conviction about the superiority of ancient pre-historic literature, over history, he has scripted and directed stage shows such as Ramlila to show various perspectives of the great epic.  As a regular contributor and moderator of various Mahabharata space on Quora and the creator of The Mahabharata Project (http://mahabharata.storian.in/) and on his podcasts https://anchor.fm/storian and https://anchor.fm/storian-hindi he is actively involved in busting the myths and fables that are distorting the epic and with it mocking the great ancient Indian culture and heritage.

This series and its inspiration come both from the frustration of the systematic condemnation of our superior Indian culture and a sense of duty to stand it and its being acclaimed as number #1 best seller on Amazon is a testimony to both the book and its author.


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