Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mahabharata & Nuance

I’ve been working on my rendition of the Mahabharata again for the last month. There are quite a number of Mahabharat’s available in English, starting with Ganguli’s 12 volume translation of the 100,000 verse epic. It was first published serially in 100 parts as Ganguli worked on the book from 1883 to 1896. For me, the writing of Mahabharata has been an on and off relationship for about three years. Trying to figure out where to begin, what to include, and what not to include. Sometimes it’s a problem because the story threads are so detailed and intertwining. The thing about my book is that I want to keep it short, keep the story moving, and tell it in a way that is interesting, comprehensible and of substance for an American readership unfamiliar with the story and the tradition which it espouses.

Last year I came up with a beginning I was excited about. But then I decided to put that at the very end of the book. So then I started to look for a new beginning. I knew it would be a flash back opening – an opening that would start from somewhere within the story and then flash back to the beginning. But from where? I had to find the precise moment. I couldn’t continue with the writing until I found it. For months I toyed with different openings, considering how the story would unfold. In June it happened. And the new opening led me to include sections of the story that I had not planned to include before.

Creativity, and life, is a fascinating organic process - an unfolding – a process of discovery that takes you from one stage to the next. When you can look at the events in your life like that, then it becomes interesting and exciting. Like with a good book or poem, you want to see what happens next. From early on, I saw creativity itself as a spiritual path. Art is a discipline. It’s what you do in the boundaries you set for yourself (or that you find yourself in) - be it a stage, a canvas, a composition, - words, pictures, music, movement, stone, shape, light, color. Cultured life, spiritual life, is about nuance.

2 Comments:

Blogger Madhava Gosh said...

Here is a condensed version of a summary of a a Cliff's notes of the plot of Mahabarata.

MIght be useful for someone; if not you, then someone unfamiliar with it.

7:27 PM  
Blogger multisubj yb said...

I hope you will not exclude the unpleasant but key element of Arjuna selling old clothes: WWW.MAHABHARATAYB.BLOGSPOT.COM

5:53 AM  

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