CHATLINE At four she was hooked on Indian epics. At 27, she has two bestsellers to her credit. ANUSHA PARTHASARATHY talks to writer Samhita Arni

Samhita Arni is the new-age mythologist who found herself knee-deep in the Indian epics since she was a child. She has travelled extensively, exploring different versions of the epics and focussing on the many questions that often go unasked. But this interest isn't purely scholastic. At 27, she already has two best-selling books to her credit; Sita's Ramayana and Mahabharatha: A Child's View and perseveres to be a full-time writer.

Samhita's journey into mythology began when she moved to Pakistan. “My father was in the Foreign Services. We moved to Pakistan when I was four-and-a-half years old and I was an awkward, shy child who read a lot. My favourite book happened to be the Mahabharatha and the embassy library in Karachi had so many versions of this epic and I kept reading it over and over again,” she says.

A couple of years later, when she moved back to India, she spent her summer holidays re-writing the story through a child's point of view. “I had lots of time on my hands and just started writing the Mahabharatha and illustrated it as well. When I was 10 my mother collected all the things I wrote (I wrote on the back of papers, postcards, cards and almost everything I could find). We moved to Chennai around that time and one day, my mother's friend saw what I had written and said ‘Your daughter might have a book here',” she says.

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