“I discovered a whole new process of balancing creativity with authenticity.” – Saiswaroopa Iyer
She currently lives in London and loves to read and write.
How difficult is the research for your story especially when it is even older than Ramayana and Mahabharata stories?
Researching for stories from Ancient literature and civilizational past come is a unique roller coaster ride for an author. There is a euphoric feeling about ‘discovering’ this new character who is so less talked about. There is also this exhilaration that a writer feels when he/she gets ‘the calling’ from the character to write that unsung story. At the same time, there are challenges. My challenge was about re-imagining the ancient Vedic world, the society and the setting which was far older than Mahabharata and Ramayana.
I have to confess it was not easy; especially after writing Abhaya for which the research was already done by generations of stalwarts and all I had to do was read up and plug the story into the dense narrative of Mahabharata. Avishi on the other hand required me to dwell a lot upon the world and the times besides the actual plot. I remember the phase where I would stop at every line and wonder about the tools they used, the vegetation, the fabric they wore and the dynamics between people. Minor characters and their backgrounds had to be worked out in detail though their appearance was only for a scene or two. But in hindsight, I am happy to have spent all that time and effort because at the end of the day, that was what increased my confidence. With each session of tough research/pondering, I became more confident about the story as well as creative assumptions going into the process.
That said, the fact that the story is so ancient also gave my creative wings, a new lease of life. For once, it felt exhilarating to discover that I, as the writer had so much liberty to reimagine the ancient world. The Rig Vedic sources mentioned the story only in about 6 shlokas of two lines each and the commentary by Sayana added to its interpretation. But writing a full length novel required me to deploy my creative abilities to the maximum. I discovered a whole new process of balancing creativity with authenticity. This is my biggest take away from the whole experience.
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