By Ratnottama Sengupta
Steven Spielberg’s ET
Satyajit Ray’s Book Travails with the Alien
Sketch by Satyajit Ray, Bonkubabur Bondhu
So much of sci-fi uses science as a starting point and then uses fiction to fill up the gaps in our present knowledge. We use what we know today to imagine a different tomorrow –- a better tomorrow — for the world. Still, sooner rather than later, sci-fi that looks out-dated as science fiction becomes a scientific fact. Don’t we all know that Sage Valmiki wrote in Ramayana of the Pushpak Vimana ( mythical flying chariots in Hindu lore) and the giant bird Jatayu that clashed in mid-space aeons before the Wright Brothers wrote their names into aviation history or before the Central Science Laboratory in UK estimated that worldwide, the cost of bird-strikes to airlines had soared to US$ 1.2 billion annually!
But why does this possibility of fiction becoming a fact excite me? Admittedly because of my association with Me and I, which my father, well-known author and scriptwriter Nabendu Ghosh, had written for his two grandsons, and was translated by my son Devottam Sengupta for his grandpa’s birth centenary. Published by Hachette India, the novel breaks the barriers of space and time. Let me quote from the synopsis to give readers a glimpse of this. “They all had the same question for Mukul: ‘Why didn’t you recognise us? And why did you look so dark?’ Mukul was perplexed. The day had started as any other Sunday morning would, with him going out to meet his aunt, his friends and his mentor Noni Kaku of the Telescope. But when everyone, including his own parents insisted that he was lying about his whereabouts, Mukul had to look around for this imposter. And he found Lukum, who had travelled light years to meet his intergalactic ‘twin.’ Little did Mukul know that he had set out on the longest Sunday of his life…”
(From Open Magazine. Link to the complete article given below) What does the expression ‘Elysium Bower’ remind you […]
Benevolent kings and their beauteous queens stroll in palace gardens or verdant forests while loyal servants eavesdrop and […]
Indian-American author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, who had used Draupadi as the narrator for her novel based on the […]
He spotted her immediately. He could not tear his eyes away from her distant figure. Leaning against a roadside tree, she stood out in the thronging crowd on the streets of Mathura. Krishna stared at her for a long, thoughtful minute before he started to move towards her.
‘Where are you going?’ asked Balram, perplexed. He looked at his younger brother, a darker version of himself. ‘We will be late. King Kamsa is waiting to meet us at his palace.’
‘Just a moment…’ replied Krishna, his eyes still seeking the woman. She was still standing near the tree, watching the bustling crowd around her, as if enjoying the street scene. She ignored the young street urchins giggling at her. One attempted to throw a stone at her.
She looked distinctly surprised as she saw a young, dark, handsome boy approach her. He could not be more than seventeen, his face boyish, with a wide, warm smile but there was a quaint air of maturity about him. It was his eyes—smiling yet mocking in their solemnity. He looked eerily familiar but she could not place him. Not that she could have forgotten such a good-looking face, she reflected, feeling a strange emotion rise within her.
‘Do you live here?’ asked Krishna politely, smiling.
For a decade, Indian authors have been capturing readers’ mind space with reinterpretations of mythology. What keeps this genre ticking?: The Hindu
There was a time when bookstores were filled with campus love stories set in IIT and IIM campuses. Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone – What not to do at IIT (2004) spawned many campus capers until readers were fatigued by the genre and the stories had little recall value.
Devdutt Pattanaik, the author of Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana, on the great epic Ramayana: Tehelka
The story of the Ramayana is simple enough: once upon a time there was a king with three wives and four sons; palace intrigues force the eldest son into exile in the forest where his wife is kidnapped by a demon; he rescues her with the help of monkeys, and returns home to reclaim his throne; eventually he abandons his wife whose sojourn with the demon-king becomes the subject of street gossip. The simplicity is deceptive for the narrative creates a framework to explain key social concepts such as kinship, fidelity, property and self-image, which is why it is retold constantly, each retelling focussing on a particular theme or point of view. My book Sita, for example, evokes the Ramayana by bringing the Goddess to the forefront.
There are no less than 23 Ramayanas in Indo-Persian Literature, writes Rana Safvi in Tehelka The Ramayana, one […]