One of the main goals of the book was to have the younger generation look to Indian mythology as treasure troves of futuristic science, says Ravi
In The Exiled Prince, Rama, a lonely old man even with his brother Lakshmana and his faithful companion Hanuman, narrates the story of his life to his children.
But it’s not just a story of Rama vanquishing the mighty asura Ravana, he also has to ensure that the crystal of creation, which is said to contain the power of the cosmos, does not fall into his hands. Weaving in science, fantasy, mythology and folklore, author V. Ravi’s The Exiled Prince (Fingerprint Publishing, Rs. 199), the first book in the Crystal Guardian series flags off a new take on the ancient epic.
Q. How does the Crystal Guardian series stands out among the many versions of the Ramayana?
The Crystal guardian series is a work of mythological fiction that uses the Ramayana as a vehicle to convey its plot. If pursued as a casual read, it can be seen as unique mystical science fiction based version of Ramayana. But when the reader begins analysing some of the areas and elements of the book, the lateral plot reveals itself.
Q. How much of the book is based on research?
It’s difficult to say. My research is an adaptive and correlative study between mythology, ancient works and modern science. I find a lot of current and futuristic concepts that science talks about, conceptually in our ancient works. My research also involved a lot of travel to remote temples and reading from several ancient works to studies of books from eminent physicists.
Q. Could you describe your creative process in writing the book?
These epics have questionable decisions that are basically checkpoints for us to investigate further. As more study and analysis was done in those areas, the basic plot revealed itself. The challenge was to present the findings to my daughter who has lived in the US all her life. The trilogy came to shape as a combination of both, and with some folklore that I had come across during my travels across India.
Q. What is your vision for the book?
One of the main goals of the book was to have the younger generation look to Indian mythology as treasure troves of futuristic science. I have also tried to throw light on the rural folklore and the parables that connect the great chain of stories together.
Q. Why did you choose to write in the first person, from Rama's perspective?
The Ramayana is only a terrain used to explain a lateral plot. The base character definitions of Ramayana are easier for readers to relate. The hero of the story is not Rama and that holds key to the entire lateral plot. Plus, Rama’s side of the story has never been said so far. When I began to write the plot, it just seemed as if this tale was waiting for his voice.
Q. How does the beginning, set in the Colonial era, fit into the plot?
The central story hangs around the question, how could a human from beyond the Vedic period be seen at the British era? This mythological, fictional trilogy will pass through from the age of first avatars of Vishnu to the end of Colonial rule in India.
Q. Does the book have spiritual/philosophical underpinnings (especially when you talk about the rishis)?
The rishis play a special and different role, with subtle metaphysical and spiritual undertones that are emphatic, and suit the current generation. These rishis, in the trilogy, are originators and practitioners of complicated science from beyond our world.
Q. What role do the rishis play in the book?
These rishis are key to the trilogy, in fact as time and space travellers they hold several roles and they are the activators of various events. The book brings light to them as ones who shape the future of modern humans, including that of Rama.
Q. What is the role of the crystal in the book?
Our universe as we know it, came to everything from nothing, that sort of cosmic power is rendered immobile and usable as needed into the crystal. How it works and its creation is disclosed in the upcoming books.
Q. Do you think that the different versions of the epic add to their depth and their original intent or do they take away the focus from the essence of the epics?
To determine that, one must know the original intent of these epics. Over time we have learnt to attach intent to these epics based on the way we have been guided. All the versions of stories are original in one way or other and each of them will have something to say. These epics must evolve to the current generations, as the ‘survival of the fittest rule’ applies to stories also.