The session Aryavarta Chronicles allowed the audience to have a discussion with Krishna Udayasankar, the author of The Aryavarta Chronicles (Govinda, Kaurava and Kurukshetra), a bestselling series of mytho-historical novels that have been acquired by Ms Sonam Kapoor. Her novel, Immortal, has also been acquired by Phantom Productions. Krishna is the author of 3 – a novel on the founding of Singapore, Objects of Affection, a collection of poetry, and an editor of Body Boundaries: The Etiquette Anthology of Women’s Writing. Her next book Beast, an urban fantasy fiction, is forthcoming from Penguin-Random House.
Krishna started off the session by wondering why people would call her to talk about this really old book series which was first published 6 years ago. In order to find an answer to this question, she googled her books and found a comment from a person who said that they had reread the book for the 7th time and had a question. It made her realize that in spite of her having spoken about it over and over again, the audience still adored her books and that she had to speak to them of what they would want to know. Saying so, she opened the session to questions from the audience filled with enthusiasm.
One member of the audience enquired about the book series being turned into a movie. She responded by mentioning that the film was set for 2020 and was being produced by Sonam Kapoor and her sister. In regards to how she feels about the same, she mentioned that she was terrified as she never really imagined the books being on the big screen.
Speaking of the character Draupadi in her books who was portrayed as a powerful warrior, Krishna says that all she was trying to do was to present a normal image. She explained how she never considered the image of ‘Damsel in Distress’ normal to start off with. In making Draupadi the warrior she was in the book, she has there’s nothing new. For a character in her position, learning the art of war was possibly a part of her life and if anything, Krishna says that she has only spoken about the topics which were not stressed about earlier.
She reminisces how she started writing as an accident in the midst of a good career and stable family. In between a midlife crisis, she says that she wanted to be a poet and the Aryavarta Chronicles actually started off as a satirical poem. However, when she got to the part where she had to introduce Krishna, all her attempts in trying to make him funny, sarcastic, stupid failed abysmally. In the process of questioning the character’s intentions at different stages of his journey, she ended up writing a book. Through various stages of writing this book, she realized the need for a series of books. She also mentioned that the fourth book of the series is on the way which resulted in a joyous applause from the audience.
Living in Singapore, she says, gave her the advantage of not coming face to face with an outraged murderer. However, the anonymity that the internet offers spewed out trolls in many forms. She explained how terrible the rape threats she received were and there were more in the form of death threats. However, she now brushes it off thinking that she must have done something right if she did offend someone.
Talking of whether writing was lonely, she mentions that it was, is and has always been that way. She mentions how you are your best critic and also your biggest fan. She thinks of times when she considered how her entire manuscript wasn’t good enough and questioned her life choices critically. She says that telling the story is only half the process while the other half takes place inside the reader’s head. She mentioned how she considers writing more of a solitary journey than a lonely journey and the more you enjoy your solitary journey as you write, the more the reader will enjoy when they go through their own solitary journey through your book. Six years later, her readers still fiercely admire the series. That has to say something.
About the Author: Bhargavi Komanduri is a final year student at BITS Pilani, Hyderabad. She has profound admiration for writing, reading, theatre, dance, movies, chocolates and chai. Being a seeker of good art in all shapes, and forms; Bhargavi also strives to be on the creators’ side of creation. Her journey has just begun as she unleashes her poems and thoughts every week. Find her foray into this new found the creative spirit, on Medium, here – https://medium.com/@bhargavi2497. She currently writes for Bookstalkist.