I spent the last year on sabbticcal in India and one incident that happened sometime in the first two three months kind of stuck with me.
Every freakin day for a week I would drive into my apartment complex n Hyderabad, India and find this huge Toyota mini van parked in my slot.
I got so flustered one day I stuck a note under its wiper politely saying Dear owner of minivan, the slot you are parked in is mine, would you mind moving your car so that I can park my measly little 800cc car. I also gave my cell number and parked as usual in the open.
The next morning an over apologetic man called (He turned out to be my landlord 🙂 ). Long story short we got our parking woes straightened and towards the end of the talk, he politely inquired if in future I would not leave him stuff in writing and he would prefer it if I talked to him in person in case of any issues.
Now that is a very interesting point. India and Indians in particular are more familiar and comfortable with a conversational interaction than in writing. Much of our history and myths are an oral tradition too. This is a wonderful tradition as children have their elders tell them stories of days gone past, of kings and queens, of gods and demons. But for someone who does not know the language, much of this is lost. As a storyteller in a nation of storytellers it pained me a lot to think that there were but a mere handful of persons outside of those in the know who were aware of how rich and vibrant this tapestry of tales was.
Fast forward a month. My wife Preeti e-mailed me a link with a note, You will love this.It was an article in an Indian newspaper about something called Virgin Comics 🙂 I took one look at their site (especially the cover image of Ramayan Reborn) and I knew I had my answer. Reading the preview issue, I felt the art lent a bit of familiarity to those who have no idea who Rama (not the cylindrical space ship but the blue skinned warrior 🙂 ) or Hanuman (no relation to a certain Kryptonian ) to immerse themselves and enjoy what we for generations have come to cherish. Finally the Gordian knot has been slashed open, the answer my friend is comics.
In the forthcoming series INDIA AUTHENTIC we have tried to forge passage through the seemingly impregnable walls of geography and language and are trying to bring to an international audience the splendor of some iconic myths and legends of India complimented with edgy art. The themes in the tales are something everyone is familiar with, even though the dramatis personae might not be known to you, the primal fury of Kali, the benevolence of Ganesha or the single minded vengeance of Parshuram. We hope that the medium and presentation provides the lovers of tales of epic grandeur all around the globe their very own rosetta stone to enjoy this kaleidoscope.
Looking forward to writing for you
INDIA AUTHENTIC #1 / Ganesha hits the stands on May 9th 2007