Friday, 6 July 2012

Young Adult forever


My sister-in-law turned to me, “when Naman married you I thought you might lick him into shape. Little did I realise he was marrying someone just like himself.” She was of course referring to the—happy to spend life in pursuing my dreams—traveller who never wanted to settle down in one place—me.
Coming from a conservative South-Indian family in suburban Bombay, my biggest fear as a teen was to be ‘trapped’ in an arranged marriage. I always knew that I would wait till I found the one. A partner who would accept me for what I am. A free spirit—an easy rider kind of person. So, when my then to-be-husband woke up one morning and didn’t blink at my “Uh! How about we just spend the day walking around Singapore, doing nothing... just being?” I knew that was him
It took me a few more years to realize that I was firmly in what the world calls today the Young Adult space. I not only write YA, I am YA. In fact I have my own quiz to help you figure out if you are also a YA. Here are my questions:
a.      Do you have more in common with your girlfriends’ fourteen year old (especially your love for Hunger Games, Twilight, et al)
b.     In workplace meetings or in ‘grown up’ parties or at the pub, are you the only one who knows Formspring (or for that matter twitter?)
c.      Are you health conscious, in fact loves to over-dose on vitamins in the hope of staying perpetually young?
If you got even two of the above three right, chances are that like me you are YA forever.
So this was how I realised, that I write in the YA fantasy space; but then the bigger surprise was in discovering how inspired I was by Indian mythology. 
Young Adult - Charlize Theron, hit pretty close in the film
Me, the one who left my home country India in wanderlust, running away from the constraints that the eighties Indian society placed on its women, the uber Go West kinda gal, now churning out fiction inspired by the East—Indian gods & goddesses and their adventures?  I paused, and dug into my memories—going back in time to when I was a little girl, perhaps five in Bombay—and my grandma, Periamma I called her (literally translating from Tamil as Big Mother) wrapped in her ultra-traditional, nine-yards, silk-cotton saree narrating stories from ancient Indian epics. I had absorbed them wide eyed, becoming one with them in my dreams, believing I could overcome demons in the real world, and that nothing could stop me. It was these stories which portrayed powerful Goddesses, stronger than the mightiest Gods, that provided me with my unlikely strong female role models. In embracing my roots I had found my voice. 
Through The Destiny of Shaitan and my future books, I hope to share these delightful stories from the rich tradition of Indian mythology, presenting them in a cool, futuristic, simple to understand setting, so that people of all ages everywhere, can enjoy them. The Destiny of Shaitan and my next novel Return to Seven Islands will particularly resonate with Young Adults and the YA at heart; for we dare to dream. We are the imagination engine, who see the future. If my readers feel just a little of those wonderful emotions which my Grandma shared with me, then I will be ecstatic.

About the author: Laxmi Hariharan was born in India. She lived in Singapore and Hong Kong and is now based in London. She has written for various publications including The Times of India, The Independent and Asian Age. She is inspired by Indian mythology. When not writing, this chai-swigging, technophile enjoys long walks in the woods and growing eye catching flowers. Her debut novel The Destiny of Shaitan is available on Amazon http://tiny.cc/szqsew. Reach Laxmi here
Blog: Read about the inspirational avatars she meets on her writing journey at http://www.laxmihariharan.com/

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