Chennai: Epics never fail to amuse readers. The narrative, the myriad lessons, the wars and warriors most of the time fit in perfectly with what is going on in contemporary times.
Shubira Prasad’s ‘The Demons of Jaitraya’ is a thriller set in the current times where the earth is seeing gruesome killings and mass illnesses and the warriors of Hanuman attempting to free it from the clutches of the demons that are back from hibernation.
News Today interacted with Shubira, an avid follower of Indian epics, over email. An educationist, she takes a keen interest in the human psyche and believes that we all have some demonic qualities which have to be contained in order to bring out the best in us.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: How did you go about researching for the story since it is inspired from Ramayana which is vast with multiple versions?
A: There were many numbers of demons left over from the great war of Ramayana. Surpnakha, Ravana’s sister is one such example. Bhagawan Sri Ram had destroyed the demon king Ravan and his army. He had not destroyed Ravan’s Lanka. Instead Bhagwan Ram had made Vibhishan, Ravan’s brother the king of Lanka. Ramayana does not state anywhere that all the rakshasas and asuras of Lanka were destroyed. I have picked up from here. My story is different, in the sense that it is not an interpretation of the Ramayan. It takes off after the great war or slightly before it, as many knowing that their end was near, escaped and hid in space, in water and even inside the earth.
Q: How are the main characters shaped and presented in your book?
A: My protagonist is a female who has been personally blessed by Maa Durga. She is an ancient warrior. She has amazing superpowers and is always surrounded by other equally powerful warriors who protect her, so that she performs her work unhindered. These warriors are human beings who have to take birth again and again to annihilate the demons. The other protagonist is her soul mate, another warrior. So, in a sense, it is a love story too.
Q: What compelled you to base the story on Ramayana? And how did you get the idea for the title?
A: I am fascinated by our epics. I love reading them again and again. They are stories which cannot be proved because they happened thousands of years back. That does not mean that the incidents did not take place. We just cannot prove them. On the way many stories get distorted too. Fantasy comes in to fill in the blanks. Jaitraya is another name of Bhagwan Ram and the demons were from his time. Hence the title ‘The Demons of Jaitraya.’
Q: Tell us your understanding of Hanuman, as the protagonist seems to take inspiration from Him?
A: Hanuman was and is the greatest warrior on this earth and beyond too. Though he did not want Bhagwan Ram to leave him, still God left him on earth to propagate the Ramayan and in the case of ‘The Demons of Jaitraya,’ to create an army of warriors to destroy the demons as and when they come out of their hibernation.