Author Interview : Preetha Rajah Kannan

Preetha Rajah Kannan is the author of many novels inspired by Hindu mytholgy including Son of Shiva. You can read my review here

Today she's here at the blog talking about writing, mythology and answering some interesting questions!

    When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

When I was in Std. VI, we had to write an essay on ‘What would you like to become?’ and my answer was “An Author.” Outsize ambitions, what?!

  All your books are based on South Indian Hindu Mythology. Did you always know this is what you wanted to write?

No. To be honest, I knocked at mythology’s door because it seemed to be the easiest way to becoming a published author. Once in, I was hooked. I realized that a wealth of South Indian mythology remains unexplored and unknown to Indians at large.

Writers are often associated with loner tendencies; is there any truth to that?

I really don’t have any “writers’ tendencies” per se! But, yes: I am very comfortable by myself.

Why do you think mythology appeals to readers of the current age?

I think it is because all Indians have grown up with mythology. It’s everywhere: temple sculpture, murals, grandparents, festivals, etc. It is very much a part of our childhoods. It appeals to us as a connection to our roots.

When in your life were you first introduced to Hindu mythology?

The first movies I saw as a pre-schooler were ‘Krishna Leela’ and ‘Bhakta Prahaladha.’ So, I think we can take it from there.

What was your favourite book growing up, and do you think it helped shape who you are now?

I was always a fanatical reader: so I can’t pick any one book. Enid Blyton, Elinor Brent-Dyer, Pearl S. Buck, Somerset Maugham, Agatha Christie, Dickens, Jerome K. Jerome, Steinbeck, etc. etc. etc: I devoured them all and I do hope their magic is a part of me.  

Have you ever read your own writing and tried to see it from the reader’s point of view?

I do try to use the reader as my yardstick when I edit my work before submission.

Is there any other genre you’d like to write in in the future?

I love writing short stories, largely from a woman’s perspective. I hope that is waiting somewhere in the future (near!!) for me. 

Overflowing with the potent juice of creation, Sadasiva concentrated his passionate desire for Parvati into an awesome tejas, brighter than a million suns, hotter than the Eternal Fire. This fiery aura blazed forth from the Third Eye of each of his six heads and coalesced into a flaming seed.
As the panicked devas scattered in terror, Indra appealed to the god of fire. “Agni, you are the only one who can withstand this heat …”

Agni quickly stepped forward and received the burning seed in his cupped hands. However, even the god of fire found himself unable to hold the scorching seed. With no time for reflection, the frantic Agni rushed to the Ganga and deposited the seed in her cool waters. So intense was the heat generated by the flaming seed that Ganga simmered, rose in spate and carried it to the Saravana - a marshy lake in the breast of the Himalayas, filled with a thicket of reeds. 

There, cocooned by the soft petals of a red lotus, the seed flared into a dazzling pillar of fire which materialized into the infant, Shanmuka, whose six heads shone with the combined radiance of the sun, the moon and fire. Himavan’s peaks glowed in the reflected aureate splendor and deposits of gold, silver and copper formed in the veins of the entire clan of mountains. The three worlds were inundated by this effulgence and a divine fragrance permeated the cosmos. Every exquisite feature of the radiant child was defined like perfectly chiseled stone. The beautiful infant, born in the sixth day of the waxing moon in the month of Margashirsha, raised his twelve arms to the cerulean skies and gurgled in happy contentment.

The sound reached the Krittika’s, the six stars of the Pleiades, who happened to be traversing the skies. Flooded with instinctive maternal love, the six maidens rushed to pick up the charming infant, elbowing one another aside and asserting: “The child is mine! The child is mine!”

In response to love’s call, the infant metamorphosed into six individual forms. The delighted Krittikas each gathered a baby into her arms and suckled the adorable infants, crooning tender lullabies and lavishing care on them.

This resplendent child was the unmatched synergy of desire (Kama), consciousness (Shiva), earth (Parvati), fire (Agni), water (Ganga) and space (the Krittikas). He was the cosmic union of Shiva and Shakti. He was Skanda, sprung from Rudra’s seed - he was the Champion of the Gods!