Be True To The Voice In Your Head – Amish

Amish Tripathi, the author of the Shiva Trilogy, was in Bangalore recently. We caught him in between his busy schedule for a quick chat.

Another dollar in the jar of banker-turned-authors, he speaks with the zeal of a starry-eyed child. Calm, composed and soft-spoken, the blockbuster storyteller shares his thoughts on religion, feminism and more.

Why Shiva of all Gods, we ask, and pat comes the reply. “Shiva is one of the coolest of Gods!”, he notes. “He is a brilliant dancer and a musician. He is a fierce warrior. He is democratic. He treats his wife with respect – which I think is a great example set to the men in our country”.

The author’s fascination towards religion and mythology suffered a minor blow in his early years. “The religious riots that happened during the 90’s in Mumbai made me resent my religion. I was young and hot headed and I turned into an atheist”, he says. But in time, the words of his father started making sense to him. “There are good people and there are bad people. Religion is not to be blamed for their criminal acts, my dad used to say”.

And as he started wallowing in mythology and the thought of writing a book, his faith in the ‘dharma’ was restored. “Writing the books pulled me back into faith,” he says.

His stories are popular for their imagery and gripping nature. However, the author’s grammar and language have been widely criticized. Asked how he counters such feedback, Amish answers unabashedly. “I pen down words as they flow into my mind,” he says. “I admit I’ve made mistakes. There’s definitely room for a lot of improvement. I need to learn a lot more and get much better at what I do,” he says.

The women characters in his books reflect fortitude and independence that is ahead of its times. The author tells us where it comes from. “I respect women. I was raised in a family of strong women who wouldn’t take any crap from men. I guess that reflects in the nature of the characters in my books”.

The author finds the way women are treated in the country plain appalling.  “Even the Manu Smriti which is often quoted by sexist men says ‘The Gods will abandon the land where women are not respected’,” he notes.

Would he encourage more people to quit their dead end jobs and take up writing? Apparently not. “Unless you have a lot of daddy’s wealth to squander, hold your horses!”, he advises. “Start writing on weekends and at leisure. See where it goes. Not everyone has what it takes to be an author,” he warns.

“And more importantly, write because there’s a voice in your head that wants to be penned down. Not to make money or become famous”, he concludes.

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