Musings over myths

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Book Rajiv G Menon’s Thundergod — The Ascendance of Indra juxtaposes history and mythology to form an engaging plot

fantasy and factRajiv G MenonPhoto: V. Ganesan
fantasy and factRajiv G MenonPhoto: V. Ganesan

The story of a man who became a god, Thundergod — The Ascendance of Indra by Rajiv G Menon, is a look at the birth and growth of the prince of the Deva tribes who inhabit Eurasia. The first of the Vedic trilogy, the book juxtaposes history and mythology to form an engaging plot.

Born of a union between the goddess of earth, Gaia and the king of the Deva tribes, Daeyus, Indra has to live up to his destiny — One day a prince from one of the four great tribes will unite the sons of Aditi and he will sow the seeds of an empire that will rule the world. “I don’t particularly mention a time frame that the story is set in, since the way Indians and the western world calculate those ages are vastly different. But I would say it is set sometime in the late Bronze Age. Indra wasn’t born here but in Sumeria. There are mentions of Egyptian and Sumerian civilisations too, since a lot of the stories stem from there. Indra was the poster boy of that age and his story intrigued me.”

Rajiv’s research for this trilogy lasted 10 years and the first book alone has taken him two years to write. “When you are writing fantasy, especially based on myths, you must always know the history and what exactly you are dealing with. That’s why the research took so long,” Rajiv explains. “The first book is about Indra’s rise as the chief of a small tribe, the second book will concentrate on the Rakshasa tribe and the third will look at the clash between devas and rakshasas.”

In toe with contemporary mythological retellings, Rajiv Menon’s book will present a balanced picture rather than a portrayal of good versus evil. “Usually, mythological heroes always have a linear graph but I try to show the rise and fall of a god. I also believe there is no good or evil when it comes to the devas and rakshasas — they were just two tribes with different cultures and ways of life,” says Rajiv.

The book also looks at the devas as human beings, instead of gods. “Since my book is fiction, it will have elements of magic, supernatural powers but I have shown the devas as great men who became gods.”

Rajiv believes that myths have much scope for retelling. “Earlier, mythology had religious overtones and no one dared to explore it. But now, authors are breaking the norms and looking at new angles to every story. It’s fascinating, the kind of potential it has,” he smiles.

Thundergod — The Ascendance of Indra is available at bookstores for Rs. 295.





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