Shiva to Ram Chandra, author Amish’s popularity has risen rampant as Shiva’s mane and hits the bullseye (read reader’s hearts) as Ram’s perfect target with his arrow.
In Kolkata as part of a tour across India to promote his latest book in the Ram Chandra series War of Lanka, Amish stopped by Starmark, South City Mall on October 21. book signing.
My Kolkata caught up with the author on the sidelines of the event. Here are some excerpts from the chat in which Amish shared fond memories of her studies at the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta.
My Kolkata: Tell us about the war of Lanka.
Amish: War of Lanka is the fourth book in the Ram Chandra series. The first three books are written in a multilinear narrative. The first book, Ram Scion of Ishvaku, begins with the birth of Lord Ram and ends with the abduction of goddess Sita. Sita: Warrior of Mithila covers her life from birth to her abduction and Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta follows events from his birth to the moment he kidnaps goddess Sita. From the fourth book there is a common story from the abduction of the goddess Sita to the death of Raavan and the return of the royal couple to Ayodhya. That’s where the traditional Ramayan normally ends for urban Indians.
Since it’s the prequel to the beloved Shiva trilogy, was it a challenge to put the dots together backwards?
I am fortunate to be an instinctive writer. I don’t plan my books. They just come to me. When I write instinctively, you don’t have to plan anything, it just comes naturally. That’s how I wrote this. When I write from that perspective, it’s actually one of the easiest things to write.
Why did you look at Sita as a warrior? Does she stand as a voice of women’s emancipation and feminism for the modern age?
Sita: Warrior of Mithila can be a voice for women’s empowerment in the modern age. But with roots going back to ancient India, I didn’t create it. It is inspired by a version of the Ramayan, the Adbhut Ramayan, also attributed to Valmikiji, in which Sita is a warrior and she is the one who kills the more powerful Raavan. It may appeal to today’s readers, but its roots are deeply traditional.
After Raavan in 2019, you came out with Suheldev and Dharma, both very different books from this series. Why did you decide to go back to the Ram Chandra series?
That was part of the plan. I had concluded Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta with a “to be continued.” I know this took a little longer than expected. Suheldev and Dharma were Writers Center books in collaboration with other writers. But Shiva Trilogy and Ram Chandra Series are books that only I have written. Yes, the war of Lanka has come a little late, my apologies for that. I have been scolded a lot by the readers for this [laughs]. But luckily they seem to love it. War of Lanka sells even faster than Raavan did. So thanks to all my readers for their love.
All four books in the series show the growth of individual characters and the merging of their personalities and actions. But the end is yet to come. What can we expect from the concluding book in the series?
As you guessed right, the Ram Chandra series is actually a way of looking at it. It is a 1500 year old prequel to the events of the Shiva trilogy. As I said, the war of Lanka ends like a traditional Ramayan ends for most modern Indians. So it gives you a sense of conclusion. But there is one book that is yet to come, which I may publish many years later and that book will connect the Ram Chandra series with the Shiva trilogy and that book will be called Rise of Meluha, the fifth book of the Ram Chandra- series ; that’s where the whole long Shiva trilogy and Ram Chandra series will end, all linked together.
Is there also a possibility of a Mahabharat series? If so, which character can we see you focus on?
Yes, that was also in the plan. I don’t know when I will start working on it, but I do have an interpretation of the Mahabharat that I would like to share
After the war of Lanka, I have a few more Writer’s Center books in the works. One on the beauty of idol worship, one on Rajendra Chola, one on Abbakka Rani. I’m working on them all. But I have a new series in mind, a completely different genre. It is set in modern times with elements of time travel and gaming. Very different… and I’m excited about it. I might be able to pick that up.
A Literary Rapidfire with Amish
A book that will always keep your comfort reading
I mostly read non-fiction
An author who influenced you
If you’ve been influenced by one author, you haven’t read enough, read more!
The book you are currently reading
The Avoidable War by Kevin Rudd
Do you prefer to read and write offline or on devices?
Both actually. I read physical books. I read Kindle books because sometimes it’s easier to get international books on Kindle. I also listen to audiobooks as that makes my jogging or cycling time productive too.
What does Amish do when he’s not writing?
I have a diplomatic job, I do. I host documentaries and also work on the production of my films. Traveling, spending time with my family. My days are full.
Your favorite mythological character and why
That’s a very easy answer – Lord Shiva. To me he is not a mythological character. He is my God.
One thing about Kolkata that keeps bringing you back to the city?
I spent the best years of my life here. I studied in IIM Calcutta. I did my MBA here. I love coming back here and spending time. I like to eat misti doi. I have very good memories. I don’t go to too many lit parties, but I usually come to the one in Kolkata whenever possible.