Anuja Chandramouli on writing ‘Mohini’: I learnt to place away my very own biases and prejudices

The AutHer Awards, a joint initiative by JK Paper and The Occasions of India, is given to Indian girls writers in appreciation of their excellent books in numerous classes together with fiction, non-fiction, debut, kids’s ebook and well-liked selection class. Mytho-fiction author Anuja Chandramouli received the AutHer Award 2021 within the well-liked selection class for her novel ‘Mohini: The Enchantress’ at a gala occasion held in New Delhi on March 17, 2021. Chandramouli shared the award with Preeti Shenoy, who received the prize for her 2020 novel ‘When Love Got here Calling’. Whereas the award-winning books in different classes are chosen by an esteemed jury, the favored selection award invitations the viewers to vote for books by their favorite girls writer.

Chandramouli’s ‘Mohini: The Enchantress’ explores the tales of Lord Vishnu’s female avatar. Written in Chandramouli’s enchanting writing fashion and advised by Mohini’s perspective, the story takes the readers on an enthralling experience. In a candid chat, Anuja Chandramouli tells us about her journey as a author, her expertise of writing ‘Mohini’, the enjoyment of profitable the AutHer Award and all issues books. Excerpts from the interview:

How does it really feel on profitable an AutHer Award, particularly within the Standard Selection class?

It’s actually cool! I’ve by no means received any type of election; earlier than school I stood for a publish however misplaced as a result of there was voting concerned… I had determined that voters hate me. However it’s good to know in any other case as this award was received after readers voted for my ebook. Throughout the pandemic (in 2020) we had been all terrified whether or not our books would really promote and so it’s heartening to win an award for ‘Mohini: The Enchanteress’. It looks like a validation of the religion that all of us had within the ebook.

It’s a nice time to be a lady writer due to the initiative taken by JK Paper and The Occasions of India. I might have actually been grateful for this sort of recognition 10 years in the past… however it’s higher late than by no means! There’s a large market on the market due to the ladies authors who paved the best way for us, so I actually wish to thank all the ladies authors who got here earlier than and those who will come after, as a result of they’re right here to remain.
What made you select Mohini because the protagonist, contemplating there are too many unvoiced girls in mythology?

Mohini is particular, is not she? She is the female manifestation of Vishnu, a masculine God who’s the protector, who belongs within the Hindu trinity and he’s very badass. In all his different avatars he’s at all times kicking butt and but this avatar of his is by far probably the most highly effective, one who really owns her sexuality, who brings in a particular flavour to the whole lot she tackles. I used to be actually curious in regards to the female aspect of this masculine God and it has been a really rewarding expertise to do the analysis and to grasp precisely how tolerant and the way compassionate we Indians are able to being! We recognise that sexuality and gender are fluid– that there’s room for everybody within the society and we don’t must restrict ourselves to traditional roles and fasten stigma and stereotypes to people who do not match into the bulk view. So I believe Mohini is really inspiring. The suggestions I’ve obtained (for the ebook) from the LGBTQ+ group is wonderful. I learnt a lot… I learnt to place away my very own biases and prejudices to grasp somewhat bit extra. So it has really been very fulfilling to work on a personality like Mohini.

And what had been these biases?

Personally, after I was at school I used to be raised in a catholic establishment. Sure religions counsel that being homosexual or lesbian or transgender is sinful. As a baby, there was an incident the place two ladies had been shamed- possibly they weren’t even in a lesbian relationship, possibly they had been simply experimenting. And I mentioned that I don’t assume it’s doable for anybody to be lesbian, as a result of we had no privateness in that college. I used to be ashamed of myself of that exact argument for not simply accepting it. However when you can develop up and realise that it isn’t about sin, it’s about desire not rules then possibly there may be hope… Possibly it simply takes individuals time to wrap their minds round issues they don’t perceive or comprehend. You can begin by educating your self with out being so harsh or judgemental. This was one thing even I needed to do!

And possibly that is what makes ‘Mohini’ an necessary learn, contemplating the LGBTQ and inclusivity angle…

The LGBTQ+, the spirituality underlining it all– when you have a look at that then the stigma routinely goes away from it.

What’s the greatest hurdle you confronted as a author?
Getting my first ebook ‘Arjuna’ printed was actually a challenge– it was a particularly tedious, soul crushing, coronary heart breaking, ready interval. However when you get your foot in, it has been simpler. The writing course of itself is as troublesome as ever however it’s pretty that there are people who step ahead to assist your writing and ask you to jot down for them.

What challenges did you face for getting your first ebook printed?
I’m from Sivakasi, a small city in South India. As a first-time author, I had zero connections within the publishing trade. So turning into an writer was solely on religion and I used to be rejected over and again and again. Nevertheless it was very good that the ebook managed to get printed and it did well– it was one of many prime 5 bestsellers of 2012! And there was no wanting again since then.

What are your suggestions for aspiring writers?
Persistence is the important thing to success. Getting your ebook printed won’t be handed to you on a silver platter, whether or not you might be simply beginning out or have written 10 books. With every ebook, you need to roll up your sleeves, work laborious, and imagine in your self. Nobody goes to come back and encourage you; true motivation has to come back from inside. It’s a must to be your hardest job grasp, you need to write for your self to excel—and the remaining will fall in place.

Who’s your favorite character from mythology and why?
My favorite character is Arjun as a result of he’s the love of my life– I wrote about him in my first ebook!

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