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Satyayoddha Kalki – Kevin Missal

Satyayoddha Kalki – Kevin Missal

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Satyayoddha Kalki – Kevin Missal

Shweta Kapoor

Your books have been a wide success and have received a lot of positive response from the readers. How would you describe your journey so far?

Quite tough! It’s a pretty long journey for a writer. You need to do a lot of sacrifices. When I published my book and had to get my marketing money, I sold my car to get the money for marketing. I faced the initial challenges every young writer faces but, obviously it has been a very satisfying journey so far.

How and when did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I realised at the age of around 13, when I read a chapter of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.
I wrote my first book at the age of 18 and after that I had a lot of failure because none of my books were popular, so Kalki was my last chance and I was determined to give my all to my last book.

Your first two books being in the horror and crime genre, what made you veer towards Hindu mythology?

I won’t say Hindu mythology, but basically I have been a very big fan of fantasy as a genre, I initially wanted to write fantasy but it just doesn’t work well with the Indian market. I have also been a huge fan of mythology as well, not just Hindu mythology but also others like Greek mythology and Norse mythology. I was never inclined towards Hindu mythology in the beginning but slowly when I started reading about it, I realised that it had enough space for me to include fantasy in it as well. So, I can say that my book is a bit of fantasy and a bit of mythology. I thought that if I build my own subjective about it, and develop it from my perspective, it could be an interesting one.

 

Do you think that the readership of mythological fiction has increased in the past few years?

Yes,of course! Apparently after Chitra Bannerjee and Amish there were a lot of readers of mythology out there but by the time I came, there were so many mythology books that people had stopped reading, everyone wanted next Amish or something close to Amish. People had stopped experimenting with mythology and even the publishers were tired of it but, after I published my book, I realised that it isn’t the genre that sells, it’s the content. If the story is well carried forward and the characters are interesting enough for people to care about, then any book can be a success, not just mythology.

Kalki is the tenth avatar of Vishnu according to Hindu mythology, but unlike other avatars the description of Kalki is inconsistent throughout various Hindu texts. How did you come up with Kalki’s portrayal in the book? What kind of research did you do before writing his character?

I read Kalki Purana which is a pretty recent text, it is not as old as the other Puranas. The Kalki Purana was written in around 18th century, which was pretty late for a Purana to happen. Kalki was actually created because of the invaders India was facing during that time, people wanted a flag-bearer who could fight through the evil.
When you look at Star Wars and compare Luke Skywalker’s and Kalki’s story, we realise that it is absolutely the same. Kalki is about a guy who is from a small village, who learns he is an avatar of Vishnu, goes to the mountains, learns how to fight to become strong and godly and returns back to fight evil.

 

Your books portray a lot of strong female characters like Padma, Durukti, Urvashi, Manasa, Kadru, Ratna. What would you say is the hardest part of writing female characters?

There is nothing hard about writing female characters, people often ask me this question and I tell them that it isn’t about gender. I don’t treat my characters on the basis of their genders but as independent characters independent of their gender identity. I care about their purpose.
I don’t want to create my female characters just as love interests instead I want them to serve the plot and that’s more interesting to me.

 

Another interesting character that takes a surprising turn in the story is Arjan. Do you think what he achieved at the end of the second book was justifiable at the cost of what he lost?

Interesting question! I don’t think it’s about justifying but at the same time we see where he comes from and why and what he does so, a particular justification is that it’s very subjective. The question is for the reader instead because, by the end of the second book we see that he isn’t exactly the same person he was. But, that’s the thing, the characters have to keep moving and changing. In Kalki 3 too, Arjan takes a surprising turn of events again.

 

The book ends in a major cliffhanger and eventually Kali learns new things about his past heritage and family. What would you say about his journey throughout the story?

For me, Kali isn’t always the villain, he is coming from somewhere and has seen so much, he has seen being neglected by the society to being loved again. What I liked about Kali was that we can understand why he wants to get something he strives for. Kali isn’t an evil man, he is just a guy with pretty twistable actions. He is a victim of his circumstances.

 

What’s up next for you? When should the readers expect the third and final book in the series?

My next book is on Lord Narasimha. It is a another series altogether. It takes 2000 years prior to Kalki. It is a story of Hiranyakashyap, Narasimha and Prahlad and how they come together. Narsimha has always been portrayed as a very angry god and that is why I wanted to tell that why he is portrayed as angry.
After that it is Kalki 3 and then there is a secret project I am working on with my publisher.

About the Interviewee:

Kevin Missal is a 21 year old graduate from St. Stephen's College, who has written four novels till now ranging from crime to mythology to horror. He had written his first book at the age of 14, which was released by the Chief Minister of Delhi.