Interview with Author – Mr Devdutt Pattanaik

With a total of 30 books on his portfolio and 600 columns published by major news outlets, Mr Devdutt Pattanaik shows no signs of stopping.

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A former medical professional by trade, Mr Pattanaik considers studying and writing about mythology his true calling. Mr Pattanaik’s known worldwide for writing best sellers such as My Gita, Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana, Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata, and 7 Secrets of Shiva to name a few. He’s also written books on Management namely; Leader: Insights from Indian Mythology, The Success Sutra: An Indian Approach to Wealth, and The Talent Sutra: An Indian Approach to Learning to name a few.

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Mr Pattanaik’s also hosted two shows on CNBC-TV18 & CNBC Awaaz called Business Sutra & Shastraarth respectively. He frequently works as a consultant for Star TV and hosts Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik on Epic Channel.

In this interview, Mr Pattanaik discusses his childhood, his writing process, his recently launched book My Hauman Chalisa, and much more.

1. What was your childhood like, and was there any particular catalyst in those formative years that helped you generate this interest in mythology? 

It was a regular suburban upper middle-class upbringing where the focus was on education and establishing a good career. I had a very regular, stable, unimpressive childhood with two sisters and parents who loved us and each other very much. Today, I realise how privileged I was. We were not particularly religious. And like all children of that time read Amar Chitra Katha and Chandamama comics through which we accessed mythology.

I guess I had a natural inclination for religion, folklore, fantasy and philosophy, and my parents never stopped me from buying books: everything from the Art of Boris Vallejo to the Bhagavatam by Kamala Subramaniam. It’s only after I completed Medicine that my interest in mythology became intense and serious, as an escape from the world of healthcare, which I did not find particularly exciting.

2. Can you describe your writing process? And, how do you overcome writer’s block, if you go through it that is? 

I write every day in the morning till noon. It’s my daily routine. I write whatever comes to mind. A tweet. An article. A chapter of a book.  An idea for a new book. I wish I exercised as regularly as I write. Then you would be healthier. Instead, I have to settle to be a prolific writer. I usually don’t suffer from writer’s block as I write on multiple topics and themes and so just go with whatever excites me at a time. Some days are great. Others terrible.

3. Your latest book My Hanuman Chalisa — wherein, you interpret the verses in contemporary language for the modern readers — released this month,  So, my question is, why Hanuman Chalisa?

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It is about paying attention to a prayer that is common amongst most Hindi speaking Hindus. It is chanted often but do we know what are we chanting? Who wrote these words? And what connection do these verses have to Puranas and eventually the Vedas? It helps us realise how Hindu thought reached the masses since Hinduism does not have a tradition of preachers and missionaries. Wisdom reached through story and song.

4. What according to you is more difficult; writing a mythology for children or writing one for adults? 

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I really do not see the difference. With children, you have to be more clear, more directive, more simple. And so it helps us unravel complex themes. With children, I use many more themes and weave them into a wider, more intense, fabric. I try not to make philosophy binary and simplistic for children as I feel children can handle complexity. For example, Sita makes choices. Not always. And not all choices work out. So what does that mean? Is choosing good or bad? Why do we say a choice is good or bad? Children need to reflect on these ideas so that they become responsible adults. We must not give them ridiculous wishful ideas like good actions result in good reactions.

5. Your current bibliography contains only one fiction novel i.e. The Pregnant King. Any plans for writing more fiction books in the future? 

Yes, hopefully, next year. I have written a short story though which is fiction, ‘Is he Fresh?’ published by Tehelka. Some young people want to make it a short film.

6. You’ve written a total of thirty books on mythology. What character, in your mind, stands out from the rest? 

Ram actually because everyone is so eager to vilify him without actually appreciating the complex structure of the epic. It reveals the vast gap between the Vedic transmitter and the modern receiver.

7. In today’s era filled with so many injustices, tragedies, and sorrows, whose ideologies would be better suited to solve these issues, Ram or Krishna? 

Justice is a Greek concept. And they did not believe in equality. Justice was about keeping everyone ‘in their place’ – destroying hubris of man who seeks he can be god. In Greek mythology, some people are special as they are children of gods. Rest are mediocre. Equality as a concept comes from Christianity. We are now conditioned to see the world through the Greco-Christian lens that we assume is rational and real but is actually simply a Western discourse. The world is what it always has been: full of predators and prey, eaters and eaten, rich and poor, kind and cruel people. Our suffering comes from assumed benchmarks and technology that is designed to benefit one tribe at the cost of the other. And so industrialisation benefits the West and destroys the old feudal order, but replaces it with a new class of the economically and politically privileged. Nothing really changes. At least that is the traditional Indian lens. Ram and Krishna are not ‘superheroes’ who are seeking to make the world ‘a better place’. They are finite forms (avatar) of  ‘infinity’ (ananta) showing us how to live in the world, at peace, no matter what the context and challenges.

8. What is the one consistent theme you’ve observed across all these mythologies?

Death and coping with death and so finding meaning is a consistent theme underlying all mythologies. In Greek mythology, meaning comes from achievement. In Abrahamic mythology, meaning comes from submission and alignment. In Indian mythology, from witnessing the world by empathizing with multiple points of view.

9. Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming projects?

I avoid talking about things that I am working on. Needless to say, they will all deal with mythology, and one will be a fiction.

10. For the readers who would like to connect with you on social networks can you tell them where and how to find you?

Go to my website Devdutt.com or find me on Twitter as well as Facebook via my handle ‘@devduttmyth‘.

Thoughts on some music albums by Guns ‘N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Paramore, and Michael Jackson

I recently finished listening to Guns ‘N’ Roses’ debut album Appetite for Destruction; and, barring “It’s So Easy”, every track on this album is a mastapeece!
 
I also recently heard Iron Maiden, Powerslave, Piece of Mind and The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden, and I liked Iron Maiden more than these. Although I’ve read online that Powerslave is one of their best albums, I didn’t really like it. Piece of Mind and The Number of the Beast come right behind Iron Maiden as #2.
 
I also heard Paramore’s Riot and Brand New Eyes, to which I must say, that Brand New Eyes pales in comparison to Riot. Except for some hard-hitting tracks like Careful, Ignorance, and Brick by Boring Brick, this album has nothing special to offer. Riot’s an amazing album, with tracks like Misery Business, crushcrushcrush, That’s What You Get, For a Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic and much more. Highly recommended!
 
I would say the same thing for Michael Jackson’s Bad and Thriller. While Thriller offers hip tracks like Beat It, Billie Jean, and Thriller; Bad offers — although featuring some duds like Liberian Girl and Just Good Friends — amazing numbers like Speed Demon, Dirty Diana, Smooth Criminal, Leave Me Alone, Another Part of Me and Of course, the title track, Bad.
 
I’m currently going through some stuff performed by Queen. For all the pro-wrestling fans out there, IMO I Want It All by Queen has to be that one track, which can be used by a babyface and a heel. Fun Fact; Ring of Honor’s Dalton Castle uses a slightly modified instrumental version of this song. 

Having a difficult time with “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

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Image credits: Livingcinema.com

So, I’m halfway through with “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and I could barely sit and watch this film without shutting my TV off, not because it’s a bad film rather it’s an extremely fluid dialogue-driven movie. But, I mean it’s too real for me. Martha & George’s crumbling marriage, their twenty-plus years of suffering each other, not-so-subtly throwing shade at each other in front of other people. Oh my god! It’s too real for me.


I cannot watch any scene without squirming in my seat, constantly looking at the diminishing run-time. I don’t know, it’s a great film, but I’m probably not gonna watch it ahead, just because it’s too difficult to see these two individuals murdering each other with their hatred for one another.

Had to share this, don’t know why.

Under the Skin (2013) Movie Review by Aaroh Palkar

Under the Skin directed by Jonathan Glazer starring Scarlet Johansson

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Aye! Guess who’s back writing reviews? It’s been ages since I wrote a movie review. I’m going to try to be more active on the blog again, would like to do more interviews, but that’s all for later. On to the review.

So, Under the Skin directed by Johnathan Glazer starring Scarlet Johansson in the lead was inspired by Michel Faber’s 2000 Whitbread Award-winning book of the same name: However, the book and the movie have no connection to each other whatsoever. So, you can enjoy the movie or the book without worrying about spoiling anything for yourself.

Under the Skin is a science fiction film about an extraterrestrial creature played by Johansson, preying on men in Scotland.

The movie looks great; It has some really cool sequences in it that I obviously will not be spoiling for you. The opening shot is awesome, and immediately tells you — the viewer — that this movie will not be condescending towards you and explain everything to you by dialogue, instead it’s going to give you all the clues visually. The movie’s quite thin on dialogue because of its dependence on visual story-telling, but it works extremely well.

Unfortunately, this makes the movie less accessible to the casual movie-goer, which doesn’t mean that people who don’t enjoy these kinds of films aren’t hardcore movie buffs or whatever. But, this isn’t a film, that you can just pop into your Blu-ray/DVD player and have a great time with. Under the Skin, which has a run-time of 108 minutes, takes its time to tell you its story. If you’re interested in watching this movie, then keep your phone away from you, and just focus on what’s going on the screen, and you’ll be fine.

The climax of the movie, when the big reveal takes place, was probably IMO the finest sequence in the film.

The soundtrack, composed by Mica Levi, who later went on to compose the award-winning soundtrack for 2016’s critical hit Jackie, was pretty great. Lipstick to Void has to be my personal favourite from it. The music complements the film rather well and didn’t take me out of the film.

So, there you have it, my review for 2013’s Under the Skin. I know it isn’t as in-depth as my previous reviews, but I cannot divulge any more of my thoughts about this film without spoiling it and ever since I’ve been doing these reviews I’ve made sure not to write anything in it, that may end up spoiling someone’s viewing experience.

But, if you want more on this film I will be linking an analysis video for Under the Skin by Ralph Sepe Jr. of ‘ralphthemoviemaker’ down below, as he’s done an excellent job with it.

Thank you and have a great day!

 

Interview with Anime Reviewer – Anime Girls NYC

The name Stephanie Clarke may not ring a bell in your head, but ask someone about Anime Girls NYC and they’ll immediately tell you about the popular anime review website. Anime Girls NYC is one of the most popular anime review website about which I came to know through WordPress. And I thought why not ask her if she’s interested in doing a brief interview for my blog.

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After a brief correspondence she agreed and lo and behold! here we are with the interview. After reading the answers to her questions particularly the one dealing with her reviewing process, I found out that she really tries to go in-depth with the review writing notes, taking screenshots etc. which shows her dedication towards her readers to provide them with a comprehensive reviews of the shows.

I’m so excited to present this interview for you guys, I know that you’re all gonna enjoy this one just as much as you enjoyed the previous interviews. Hence, without any further ado here’s my interview with Anime Girls NYC:-

1.) Can you please tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

Well, I’ve been watching anime since I was 10. My first anime was Dragon Ball Z. After watching Goku fight his brother Raditz and then the episode leaving me with a cliff-hanger, I knew this was the show to watch. Ever since then I started watching more Anime from Sailor moon to Pokémon. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized how much of an anime fan I was.

2.) What initiated you into reviewing anime?

I started to review anime by realizing after starting my social medias for Anime Girls NYC and how popular they were, I’ve decided to create a blog where I can go into depth with anime. You are kind of limited on social media. The blog platform gives you enough room to be creative with your stuff. Now I can really talk about the anime I love and hate to watch!

3.) Can you describe your process of reviewing an anime for the readers?

My process of reviewing an anime is while I watch the anime I will have a paper next to me or my phone jotting down notes. (I.e. a plot twist, character development and etc) Also, a 22 minute show for others will turn into an hour show for me because of the many times I have to stop and write down something. Also, all the screen shots I have to take or retake because the scene I wanted to grab didn’t come out right. After I finish all these steps I start taking my notes and my thoughts on them and create a review.

4.) What do you think makes a great anime, plot or characters?

What I think makes a great story is both plot and character. First you need a plot/storyline that the characters can follow. Then you need characters to carry the plot. Without one of the other it wouldn’t be a great anime.  You need the plot to keep your audience interested in what is going to happen with the characters and the whole story itself. Then you need the characters for your audience to fall in love with or to hate.

5.) Can you tell us some of your favourite anime and manga?

My favourite anime is Death Note. The psychological approach to this anime was amazing. The god like mind of Light Yagami to the God like mind of L. I loved the cat and dog chase.

My favourite Manga is Deadman Wonderland. I love the character development in this manga. The psychological approach to this manga is so good.

6.) What are your views on anime being adapted into live-action films? As an anime fan do you think they’re necessary?

If you have read my blog you may see I slip in a few slick comments about live action adaptions. Personally, I always feel like they fail. They always receive bad reviews. They never grasp the concept of what the anime and manga brings. The action is catered to keeping the audience engaged instead of sticking to the actual storyline. I do not think they are necessary.

7.) Apart from watching anime what other activities are you interested in?

Besides watching anime, I am a very active person. I go out with my friends a lot, bowling, partying, karaoke. I also like to cosplay at events. I travel places because of my job and for personal reasons. This list can be very long. Haha!

8.) What genre of anime do you usually prefer watching? And what genre would you like to explore next?

The genre of anime I prefer watching is Psychological, horror and action. Those are my favourites. The next genre which I recently just started to explore more is sports. I never wanted to watch sports anime but after watching Haikyu I was hooked.

9.) Any particular anime you’re excited for this year?

The anime I am excited for this year and am currently watching is 91 days. I like the 1920’s and the prohibition time in America. I like revenge stories. This has all of it in it. So, pretty excited for more episodes.

10.) For the readers who would like to connect with you on Social Networks can you tell them where and how to find you?

To reach me on social media:

Facebook PageAnime Girls NYC

InstagramAnime_Girls_NYC

Twitter: @animegirlsnyc

Websitewww.animegirlsnyc.com

 

In conclusion, I would like to thank Ms. Clarke for taking the time out of her busy schedule to do this interview for my blog, I really really appreciate it. A big thank you to all the people who are constantly supporting this blog everyday, and I hope to keep you all entertained with this type of content. So, once again guys please do check out Ms. Clarke’s website and do support her, like her Facebook Page, and also follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

If you want to follow me on any of the above social networks you can check out my “About” page to find the links. Thank you so much guys for reading this article and I hope you all have a nice day!

 

 

Interview with Author – Mr. Aidan J. Reid

Hello! Ladies and gentlemen, today I’m bringing you an interview with author of books such as Pathfinders, Sigil and Spectrum, Mr. Aidan Reid. Mr. Reid was very kind to give me an opportunity to interview him and I thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule to do this interview with me.

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Thus, without any further ado here is my interview with the wonderful Mr. Aidan Reid.

1.) Can you please tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

I’m a self-published thriller author and freelance blogger who decided to quit the corporate rat-race in 2014. I have released two novels and a short story and have featured in a number of local and national newspapers back in my home country of Northern Ireland.

2.) What initiated you into writing?

I had a story to tell. I’ve been writing in some capacity for as long as I can remember. As a child, I wrote short stories for my class mates. When I entered adulthood, University studies and then an unfulfilling career took hold and my passion was soon buried underneath a need to make money and tick all the boxes which other people define as ‘success’. Between jobs, writing knocked on the door again. I was twenty-three, and had just discovered a book about Lucid Dreaming. It seeded the idea for a novel, which became Pathfinders and took almost a decade to write.

3.) When not writing, what do you like to do in your free time?

Read widely. I agree with Stephen King when he said the best way to become a better author is to, read a lot and write a lot. I also enjoy watching documentaries about anything and everything. I enjoy working out – lifting weights. This year I’m obsessed with making juices after watching the documentary ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’. I’m quite healthy and fit but I strive to always improve.

4.) Other than the genres you’ve already explored in your books, what other genres would you like to experiment with in the future?

I’ve considered the idea of using an alias to write a young-adult, romance or erotica. There are so many readers out there for those titles and I would like to test myself and get outside my comfort zone. I’m not a lover of those genres but feel that I could do a better job than some of what I’ve read.

5.) From where do you draw inspiration for the characters in your books?

Everyday life. Movies I’ve seen. Books I’ve read. Elements of my own personality. I try and mesh personalities and create some ambiguity in the characters I create making them 3-D, someone that people can relate too – flaws and all.

6.) What do you think is more important, plot or character?

Plot. You need to be able to tell a good story. A bad plot can’t be saved with well written characters. A book should transport you to another place – a form of escapism. If the plot doesn’t hook, the characters will only be window dressing.

7.) Who are your favorite writers and what are your favorite books?

Richard Matheson. I loved ‘I am legend’ and ‘What dreams may come’. I also enjoyed some of Paulo Coelho’s earlier stuff, particularly ‘The Alchemist’. My favorite three novels of all time are ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘War and Peace’ and ‘Don Quixote’.

8.) Without giving away too much, can you please tell us a little bit about your future projects?

I will be releasing my third book, ‘Raising Lazarus’ at the end of this year. The first draft is finished and I will be hiring an editor and illustrator to work with me on that in a couple of months time. Between now and then, I will release a science fiction short story called ‘Crystal Clear’ – It’s almost finished and will be released in September. I’ll also ramp up my blogging. I’ve been quite slack on that front lately, and will continue to build my audience.

9.) For the readers who would like to connect with you on Social Networks, can you tell them where and how to find you?

Facebook – www.facebook.com/aidanjreidauthor

Twitter – @aidanjreid

Website – www.aidanjreid.com

 

In conclusion, I would once again like to thank Mr. Reid for giving me this opportunity to interview him and I wish him good luck from me and my readers in his future endeavors. And to everyone who has read this interview, make sure you check out Mr. Reid’s beautifully written books.

Thank you for reading, and have a nice day!

 

 

Interview with Author/YouTuber Mr.Travis McBee

Hello! Ladies and Gentlemen of the internet, I’m here with an interview, but this time it’s not a book reviewer. Instead, today we’re joined by Mr. Travis McBee who is the author of wonderful books such as Bridgeworld, Encounter at Atlantis, Triton: Rise of Empire and his latest novel The Dreamer.

Mr. McBee along-with being a published author is also a YouTuber. He makes videos on writing tips for people interested in writing books and also does sketches and vlogs on his YouTube channel. In today’s interview he talks about what initiated him into writing, his favorite books and authors, his future projects, what he likes to do in his free time and much much more.

So, without any further ado here’s my interview with Author/YouTuber Mr.Travis McBee

I would like to thank Mr.McBee for taking time out of his busy schedule to do this video. If you guys want to connect with him on Social Media you can check the links down below.

Link to his website:- http://www.TravisMcBee.com

Link to his Amazon page:http://www.amazon.com/author/travismcbee

Link to his Twitter account:- http://www.twitter.com/travis_mcbee

Link to his Facebook page:- http://www.facebook.com/authortravismcbee

Link to his Goodreads page:- http://www.goodreads.com/TravisMcBee