Literature today: As we know you have added the concept of Mahabharata in your book. Our readers might be interested to know which incident of Mahabharata has inspired you utmost?
Author: To mention a specific incident in the Mahabharata, it was Arjuna going on a Vanavas in the Adi Parva and getting caught by a crocodile who is really an Apsara under a curse. But I have drawn ideas from not just the Mahabharata but also Ramayana, Meghadutam and the Panchatantra. In the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, there are many stories about Apsaras and Gandharvas getting cursed and coming down to the earth as deformed creatures regarded as Rakshasas. They also have their own points of view. That is what I thought of when writing this book.
Literature today: As we can see you are an author and there are numbers of stories which you have been knitting in your mind, do you have any other hobbies rather than this, would you like that sharing among your audience??
Author: In my early youth, I learnt dancing. I have always taken interest in Indian music and dancing, although only from a distance. I am planning a book for children on the Indian heritage of dancing.
Literature today: RIBHU’S adventures is based on past era, the story which we all used to hear since our childhood, according to you what message you’re trying to give in through the book?
Author: My message to children today is to read ancient Indian texts, know about them, but look at them with from fresh point of view, from another perspective. A Rakshasa or an Asura may have a history of why he or she is like that. If children learn to do it, then when they grow up they may be more understanding towards a physically or mentally challenged person, or the victim of some form of abuse. This is a need of today’s society, not just a matter of ancient times.
Literature today: Lord vishnu is the god who has taken multiple of incarnations on earth among the humans, which incarnation of Vishnu has inspired you utmost and why?
Author: Rama, of course. First, we see Rama as a rounded figure – son, brother, learner, husband, friend, diplomat, political ally, warrior, ruler, upholder of law and order, and so many such aspects. No other incarnation has so many aspects, not even Krishna. Secondly, we see Rama not only as a super-man, always strong. We see him in his vulnerable moments. He weeps often and has to be comforted by his brother of his friend. He has to take tough decisions that hurt him but he does go ahead and take them.
Literature today: Writing is never an easy task for any of the author, you must have that clarification of thoughts in your mind, so at what time do you feel suitable for writing a book?
Author: The morning is my preferred time for writing. I get up early and my mind is then uncluttered. By 11, I am tired. I turn to housework, marketing visiting and so on…Of course, if there is a deadline for submitting a piece, I work as long as I have to.
Literature today: You are a retired professor, there might be numerous incidents among your students, how you used to make them understand the difficult topics, how have been your teaching journey so far?
Author: Yes, I have been teaching for at least 25-30 years. I have grown old with different batches of students. In teaching difficult topics, I have often used stories as a kind of ‘case-study’ to illustrate my points. Even mythological stories.
Literature today: As you’re a professor and you have met several people in your life, you must have a strong knowledge about the human behavior of different unconscious mind, as per that what messages would you deliver to this youth?
Author: My subject was Economics which is a behaviorial science. The unconscious mind does influence even the buying and selling of products, production, consumption etc activities. But the important teaching of Economics is that one should be rational, use one’s reasoning in making a choice. Similarly, in reading about mythology or fantasy too, one must not lose rationality.
Literature today: As this current generation is surrounded by certain fears, chaos and hesitations, do you think reading spiritual books help in this case? Please illustrate your answer…
Author: Reading spiritual books are the most important help anyone can get. Young and old, especially the young, should be introduced to India’s rich heritage, especially the Upanishads. ’Satyameva Jayatey (It is Truth that Triumphs), Nayamatma Valaheenena Labhya (Cowards can never attain the Supreme Soul)’ are advice directly from the Upanishads. These were taught to young students in Ashrams and Gurukuls. Youth is when one needs them the most, to create a base for the problems of adulthood, middle age and further.
Literature today: Have you found any angry character like saint Durvasa in your life?
Author: Yes, more than one. Like Professor Ashok Rudra, a famous statistician and author. But just as these sages of contemporary times flare up, they also teach important lessons. Ribhu too learnt an important lesson from the curse that the angry sage Durvasa put on him. Punishment can also be of good purpose. But, of course, those punished realise it only later!
Literature today: How was your publishing journey for RIBHU’S ADVENTURE?
Author: It has been an excellent journey so far. The Project Leader as well as the Artist (Cover-designer-and –Illustrator) have both been extremely responsive as well as responsible. I appreciate their bringing this book through the difficult times India is passing through. The artist has depicted Ribhu just as I visualised him, and brought the character alive for children. I do hope this publishing journey continues through to my next manuscript.