Monday, November 02, 2015

The Sheer Joy of Hearing Back from Readers!

There is nothing quite like the feeling you get when somebody you have never met in your entire life reaches out to you from the murky darkness of the internet! For those with a more twisted frame of mind allow me to clarify - I am not talking about pervs who think your profile pic is good and 'want 2 make frandship with you' but about readers who pick up a copy of your book (or order it online) and actually take the time out from their lives to share their thoughts on it.

It is soooo sweet, the gesture always reduces me to a quivering pile of mush. This applies even if all the said individual wants to say is that 'YOU SUCK' and in his/her considered opinion ought to take up another career. In such cases, I console myself with the words little girls are told when an uncouth classmate tugs on carefully tied up pigtails "He likes you!" or rather "SCORE! You got through to them enough to make them reach out even if it is with a machete!" But thankfully acid - soaked emails are rare and most are very encouraging.

Sample this email from Lavanya, which has been shared with her permission. She is currently preparing for her NET Exams in December and grabbed a copy of Shakti: The Divine Feminine while buying exam guides.  Do check it out! And to all my readers out there, thanks so much for the love!

Dear Anuja,
I enjoyed reading the book because I love to read stories of the Divine. 70 percent of the stories were known to me (by reading Devi Mahatmyam) but the spin you gave them were phenomenal. I have always wondered why somethings happened the way it  did (as written in the holy books) and your characterisation was very convincing and answered many of my doubts but I feel you could have downplayed some regions which may not go well with the average Hindu psyche and minus those gnawing issues dealt in here, it is a great read.
Greatly enjoyed reading abt the platonic love of Vishnu and the equations Shakti had with Shiva and Vishnu. 
I found some words in the book didn't gel well with the rest as they were very contemporary (acc to me) for a primeval story. (Can't give examples as I was too engrossed in the book and didn't note down- yet I could feel it at some places) Yet I can't blame you for it as you have stated that the story never ends, it goes on in cycles, and is still going on and hence such timeless beings can't be held in a boundary of our making. 
About Indra's curse, I read in Devi Mahatmyam - malayalam version , that the Brahmahatya paapam he incurred was because of the death of Dadichi Maharshi (though he willingly committed Self sacrifice - Indra's selfishness was the reason why he had to commit self sacrifice). Thus cursed Indra seeks the support of Trimurthis to take him to Kali's abode for purification. After serious repentance by Indra, Devi forgives him and grants him his lost prosperity and vitality. No disagreement here as it's in line with what you have mentioned but the witchhunt was really depressing though it is very much a possibility.
I read a review of Shakti in The New Indian Express and I am pleased after reading it. Sometimes the reviews can be very deceptive. But I am very glad that I got my lazy self to buy your book as reading it was a real new experience. Believe me, I am no great reader - I have got books And left them untouched after the first few pages. Especially the widely publicised retakes on Indian mythology have always disappointed me and coz I don't get the intent of what they are trying to imply- I sometimes wonder - why the hype?
Shakti is very marvellously written and it was very easy to understand and identify with the primordial mother.
The part I loved the most - was the interaction between Durga and Mahisasura . His ultimate deliverance was very touching - which melted my heart.
I hope you continue to write more such stories adding your special ingredients to it that appeals to people like us who love to read such divine-stories yet get perplexed by the sheer volume and complexity of the sacred texts. 
All the best!
With love,

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