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In the North, a majestic mountain range emerges from a demon's tantrum. In the South, the avatar of a god gives a forest its name. In the East, a pirate king finds his plans foiled by a formidable force of nature. In the West, a sea keeps a city safely hidden in its deep waters. Long ago, before science came up with explanations for the events that occurred in nature, people turned to stories to make sense of the wondrous workings of the natural world. And so, a life-giving stream became the gift of a goddess, a hot spring arose from the breath of a celestial snake and a heap of broken boulders served as a testament to a divine battle.
Zigzagging through myths, folklore, local history and geological theories, "Gods, Giants and the Geography of India" (Hachette), an extraordinary book, draws fascinating connections between ancient tales and the science behind the spectacular geography of India. Join Nalini Ramachandran on a most unusual, adventure-filled expedition up, down and across the country's varied terrain!
Nalini Ramachandran is always looking for interesting stories to tell | Photo by Tom Hermans on Unsplash
Nalini Ramachandran is always looking for interesting stories to tell - of glorious goddesses, daunting demons, stealthy shapeshifters, gorgeous geographies, wondrous wildlife and ordinary objects. She began writing for children when working with India's only all-comics children's magazine, Tinkle. Today, her short stories have appeared in anthologies such as Gifts of Teaching, Scary Tales, and Thank God It's Caturday!
She is the author of "Detective Sahasasimha: The Case of the Disappearing Books", "APJ Abdul Kalam: One Man, Many Missions" (which won Multistory Learning Pvt. Ltd.'s 'Best of Indian Children's Writing - Contemporary Awards 2019' in the 'Comics/Graphic Novels' category), "Lore of the Land: Storytelling Traditions of India" and "Nava Durga: The Nine Forms of the Goddess". She also edits children's books and holds workshops on creative writing and storytelling.
(Article originally published on IANS) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Gods, Giants, Geography of India, Nalini Ramachandran, goddesses, daunting demons, stealthy shapeshifters
As Hinduism is a unique religion, it must be understood in an efficient manner. Therefore, in order to understand the practices and concepts related to the religion, read the below mentioned books written by renowned authors.
Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices by Jeaneane Fowler
To start with knowing and understanding Hinduism, this is one of the basic books. In this book, the author views Hinduism as a way of life and a major Indian phenomena, and most importantly, all the beliefs and practices which are associated with this religion. All-in-all, this book is an eye-opener, and throws light on a lot of concepts and myths related to Hinduism.
An Introduction to Hinduism by Gavin Flood
This book throws light on the historical and thematic introduction related to Hinduism. At the same time, this book traces the development of the religion from the ancient origin to its modern structure. One of the specialty of this book is that it lays stress on rituals and southern influence on Hinduism.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hinduism by Linda Johnsen, Jody P. Schaeffer, and David Frawley
Considered as one of the ideal books on Hinduism, it offers an outstanding introduction and overview of the religion. Not only this, but this book also explains various practices and beliefs related to Hinduism, and also includes tales from history and literature to interest the reader more. All-in-all, this book tells about Hinduism in a very candid manner.
The Hindu Mind by Bansi Pandit
This book is written by keeping in mind the history of Hinduism. Not only this, but this book also talks about the fundamentals of Hindu religion, philosophy related to it, and beliefs and practices related to the religion. Clearly, this book is written in a very systematic manner, keeping in mind all the aspects of Hinduism.
Am I a Hindu? by Ed Vishwanathan
Interestingly, this whole book is written in the form of dialogues. In this book, the conversation is happening between father and son, and the father answers his son's every question which is related to Hinduism only. This book is written in a very simple manner as the reader can easily read the question and then its answer, and easily understand about Hinduism.
Keywords: Hinduism, Books, Authors, Religion
Bangalore headquartered Script a Hit, is a platform that helps people with ideas, but not the proficiencies, time or resources to turn their thoughts into a novel, to get published or create scripts for audio-visual content production. The idea is to break down the barriers to publication and screenwriting.
The platform is the brainchild of Jaishankar Krishnamurthy, who had aspired to write a novel for over four decades, but due to the lack of time and skills, but it materialised into books. He realised that there must be millions of people in India who may have great ideas but don't have the necessary means to turn their notions into novels. To help such people fulfil their dreams of being a published author, Krishnamurthy along with his wife Krishna Udayasankar, Co-Founder of the company, along with a few friends began 'Script A Hit', a website where anyone's dreams of becoming a published author can come true.
IANSlife caught up with them to get more details on the platform.
Q: How is 'Script a Hit' different from a publishing company?
A: 'Script a Hit' does not aim to publish manuscripts, rather our aim is to help people transform their ideas into manuscripts that can then be submitted to leading publishers, to be published as books. As a result, what we look for in terms of submissions is not the entire manuscript, but a concept note -- the seed of what can be a spectacular novel.
Many people may have amazing ideas but do not have the skills, time or resources to turn that idea into a complete novel. We cater to these individuals by helping bridge the process between idea and manuscript. As a result, once we accept the submitted idea, we employ professional writers to convert the idea into a novel. We then will approach reputed publishing companies to publish the novel.
In short, we see ourselves as adding value by serving as a bridge between the ideator and publishing houses, thereby serving both their needs.
Q: How did the idea of 'Script a Hit' come to your mind? Who is it meant for?
A: The idea came from me, as I had been aspiring to write a novel for four decades but somehow could never complete a single book. Being married to a successful writer, Krishna Udayasankar, who has published many bestsellers, I pitched her a plot, which she then worked on using her exceptional skills. Now, my first book, 'Farside', co-authored with Krishna is forthcoming from Penguin Random House in October 2021.
I have also completed my second novel in collaboration with another writer. The book, 'Mind Games' is currently being pitched to various publishers by the reputed Redink Literary Agency.
For my third book, I engaged a writer to bring an intriguing financial thriller to life. I now have three complete manuscripts, with a fourth in the works, in a span of fewer than two years.
As a result of these experiences, I realised that there are several individuals like me who may not have the time or skills to write, or the resources to convert their unique ideas into novels. 'Script A Hit' is a unique platform for such individuals to realise their dreams of becoming an author or the creative mind behind an audio-visual production -- be it a movie or an OTT series.
Q: How does the idea work?
A: Any person who has an idea can submit a detailed synopsis of their idea by registering at the website. If the idea is selected by the 'Script a Hit' team, we enter into a legal contract with the submitter acquiring the idea with an initial payment of Rs 10,000.
We then employ professional writers, chosen with care to fit the particular genre and proceed to write out the entire manuscript. We will then pitch the manuscript to reputed publishers. Depending upon the idea, we will also simultaneously present a detailed pitch to (audio-visual) content producers. Our aim is to get to the market a great idea in the form of a novel and/or as audio-visual content.
A portion of the proceeds from the royalty from the Publisher and amounts received from content producers will be going to the person who submitted the initial idea, and always, they will get creative credits for the final product.
Q: How many entries have you received till now?
A: We have received around 100 submissions and they are from across India. Right now we are accepting submissions in English, Hindi and Tamil. Except for one submission in Hindi, the rest have been in English. The genre of stories ranges from romance, science fiction and fantasy to crime and thrillers.
Q: In this era of OTT platforms, do you think your platform enables people to sell their ideas to these platforms. Also, how is it benefitting your brand?
A: There has been a behavioural change in viewership of late, highlighted all the more due to Covid. Many people, who previously watched only broadcast TV content are now consuming content on OTT platforms faster than such content can be produced. The same goes for a readership of books. We aim to meet the steep increase in demand for new stories across various kinds of media by translating the best of ideas into the most captivating content.
We have the unique advantage of having onboard an accomplished writer, Krishna Udayasankar, who has optioned all of her novels to date to content producers, including the likes of Disney Hotstar and Phantom Films. She has also been engaged to write screenplays for web series, which are currently being pitched to leading OTT Platforms.
Also on board is Neha Lamba Grover, formerly of Star TV and now working with HCL Technologies in their Media Telecom sector in the US, dealing with a broad content-production client base. She brings both her contacts and considerable expertise in audio-visual content production to the table.
These, combined with our unique vision, make us a game-changer brand in the world of literary and audio-visual entertainment.
(N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe can be contacted at email@example.com)
Way back in 2014-15, when an engineer was lynched by a mob in Pune, it got author Chandan Pandey thinking. While one hears of road rage and murders almost every day, Pandey says the fact that when a crowd is created -- with sometimes through calls given over the loudspeakers of different religious places -- facts and fiction mixed, and killings executed coldly, it demands more than a newspaper headline.
His novel 'Legal Fiction' (originally Vaidhanik Galp), translated by Bharatbhooshan Tiwari and published by HarperCollins India, which recently hit the stands reflects on several realities faced by contemporary India including the controversial CAA, 'Love Jihad', hate-mongering, and mob lynchings. In fact, the author took back the original manuscript written long back from the Hindi publisher to add different elements. "Yes. I had submitted a long novel in 2015. However, to ascertain that the message was not lost, I amended the story and made three novels. This one is the first in the series."
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Pandey also wanted to go into the history of mob-lynchings and find out if they had been happening across the world in the past. "American history is rife with this. In every generation of American history, such incidents have occurred. For example, when the non-white Americans were granted franchises. I wanted to explore that in the Indian mentality."
Adding that the powers-to-be tend to claim that the mob and its actions are spontaneous, the author stresses that in most cases, the reverse is true. "It is mostly premeditated. After the violence has subsided and the names of people present there to come out in public domain, one wonders what were they doing there in the first place?"
His novel 'Legal Fiction' (originally Vaidhanik Galp), translated by Bharatbhooshan Tiwari and published by HarperCollins India, which recently hit the stands reflects on several realities faced by contemporary India.Twitter
Talk to him about the liberals' chair-borne analysis of extreme right-wing, and how their dismissive attitude had led to a completely wrong reading of different organizations, the author admits that it is foolish to think that the right-wing does not understand psychology or lacks organizational skills, not to mention immense swaying power. "I read somewhere that they just pretend to be foolish. They might initially try to present their ideas as jokes, but later become steadfast. Instead of dismissing them, we should be trained to see how they function."
As he talks about 'Love Jihad' in his book, Pandey, whose father worked in Government Railway Police, feels that the Indian police establishment needs a complete overhaul. "Sadly, they always side on the side of the powerful. In the police barracks, you might find an individual devouring a brilliant piece of literature. However, the moment they don the uniform, there is complete metamorphosis."
Smiling that he does not really have the kind of a dream life that a writer imagines, Pandey, who works with the TATA group says, "So many authors spend a major part of their morning's writing. Well, I have to be ready for the office cab every day. There is no method to my writing process as I need to travel a lot for work. But yes, nowadays, I wake up at 3 am to sit on the writing desk."
Lamenting that Hindi writers mostly get a raw deal -- lack of scholarships and grants, not to mention unprofessionalism of many from Hindi language publishing houses, he says, "All my friends warn me --don't even think about leaving your job. When we talk about Hindi, there are two types of people. The establishment and people who love it. There was a time when many Hindi publishers would not even release the paperback edition of books for years. Of course, things are slowly changing with new-age ones coming up. Also, one tends to compare things with English ones. The kind of effort put in by the latter -- agents, editors, marketing, payments, etc," says the writer whose first story was published in 2004. (IANS/KB)