The epic Mahabharata has been recreated and reinterpreted in innumerable books, novels and essays. Now another one by software engineer-turned writer Sharath Komarraju, The Winds of Hastinapur, released in Hyderabad recently looks at Mahabharata from a woman’s perspective. While his first two books Murder in Amaravathi and Banquet on the Dead have been fast-paced, The Winds …takes a different route.
“Last year when I wanted to write something on Mahabharata, my agent discouraged me saying that the epic has been written about for generations now and what novelty can I bring in my writing,” recalls Sharath.
The statement prodded him to do his own research on Mahabharata and results left him amazed. “I discovered that most people have written exceptionally about male characters and people who have written from a feminist’s angle have judged the quality of women versus the quality of men. I realised there is some scope to write and I found my niche,” points out Sharath. The first book in a series of three books, The Winds of Hastinapur will start from the story of Ganga and Satyavathi and the birth of Dritharastra, Pandu and Vidur. “The story takes a feminine tone and talks about empathy, love and motherhood. The women were proud of being women and their sexuality,” he states. Born and brought up in Warangal, Sharath moved to New Zealand with his family when he was just a teenager. “We are all readers in our family and our dinner table conversations centres around books, literature and writers,” he says. At 22, he got a job in IBM in New Zealand, worked there for four years before moving to IBM in Bengaluru. “During my free time I started writing as a hobby. Writing was more like feeding the soul,” he smiles.
Exhorting young writers to not take at failures seriously, Sharath says, “My three books were rejected before Murder in Amaravathi was okayed. I began writing as a long term career and I was expecting the rejections so I did not take my initial setback very harshly. I knew that people were rejecting my work and not me,” he states and continues, “Chetan Bhagat and Amish Tripathi have given rise to new breed of young writers who want to get rich by writing. Aspiring writers should be able to give two years to the craft and expect their initial writings to be rejected.”
Sharath has quit his software job and concentrates on his writing. “I got married in April 2013 and out of the three (job, writing and marriage), I had to leave out one. I decided to leave work for now,” he smiles.
Sharath’s hands are full as four books are in the pipeline.