1. Akhila Saroha: I would like to begin by congratulating you on the publication of “Yashoda and Krishna.” How has the response to the book been so far?
Seema Seth: Thanks a lot, Akhila for providing me with this intimate setting for a conversation on my latest book, Yashoda and Krishna.
Well, coming to my novel, Yashoda and Krishna now, if there is one word that can tag exactly the response of the readers, it will be ‘awesomesauce’! Mind you, I am not being synthetic, the bibliophiles’ feedback on Yashoda and Krishna in India, as well as abroad, has completely bowled me over. It is pretty overwhelming. I see my hard work finally reap the rewards. The book has been well received by readers of all ages, young and old alike, notwithstanding their nationalities, and will, hopefully, go places in the days to come. I feel truly humbled by its global acceptance.
2. Akhila Saroha: What led to the idea of writing “Yashoda and Krishna”? Were there any events that inspired the work?
Seema Seth: It is great to learn that booklovers have become very experimental of late, and have started to explore mythological novels besides their regular genres. Over the years, the demand for this particular genre has spiked. And witnessing its rising popularity, I thought of joining the cult, to be very honest. However, my need to find peace in this ever-evolving world, where materialistic pursuits leave us little or absolutely no time for a breather, let alone the privilege of living a life of our choice, takes the cake out of all the other whys and wherefores. Undoubtedly, peace has become elusive in today’s times, which makes it the costliest commodity. It has no parallel whatsoever- and, this fact makes it utterly priceless!
Good books can wake us up by giving instant enlightenment, and further leave its spark in our mind for the rest of our life, like the humble, morning tea that charges our grey cells immediately with its therapeutic goodness and transforms our mood for good. I like to depend on self-help, mythological or motivational books during my downtime or even otherwise, and they never let me down. Hence, intending to dissipate my assimilated secret of peace and happiness to a broader audience, I decided to open the pandora box of the old stories that I had heard as folklores while growing up, narrated mostly at bedtime by my forefathers, or read during school days and chose to retell the one which was the closest to my heart; the story of my favourite god, Lord Krishna. I hope others can experience the same joie de vivre as me through my book Yashoda and Krishna.
Well written mythologies come with pearl-like, highly, valuable wisdom and life lessons and take us on a spiritual journey. Some provide time-tested solutions of the gods and mythological heroes that they had applied at the time of fighting wars, and to triumph over evil, and much more, and which can be pragmatic in modern life too. The invaluable lessons learnt from these stories can help one live life peacefully and in the traditionally, approved manner.
3. Akhila Saroha: How easy or difficult was it for you to write on a subject that held relevance for all and also remain objective about them in “Yashoda and Krishna”?
Seema Seth: Yashoda and Krishna unite many shades and doesn’t conform to organic religion alone. It is fictitious, entertaining, religious, motivational, inspirational as well as fun2shh in parts. And, in the long folktale, the objectivity of the story of a foster mother and her son manages to stand out of other pieces brought together to stitch the story; others are important too, to whittle out the strong relationship of the duo; like a bright sun in the solar system that binds the other objects in the orbit and without whose support, the sun wouldn’t be the superstar that it is. All mothers, whichever part of the world they are coming from, carry only one towering identity, love, and each reader will be able to find their respective connections with Yashoda and Krishna.
4. Akhila Saroha: What are your views about present-day writing? Do you think it does complete justice in depicting human nature in the light of “Yashoda and Krishna”?
Seema Seth: Well, the publishing industry is flourishing and so are the writers, analogously. I believe, books are the way forward-no two ways about it, and reading has its own charm. I am amazed by the profundity with which some of them are writing novels. Moreover, mythological writings are like the umbrella shade on a scorching, summer day. They give a certain kind of peace that comes only with knowledge, alter our mindset and make us positive. I found the contents and the writing styles of most of the best selling novels to be good enough, and they touched my heart, and that justifies why mythological writers are mushrooming by the day and surely will stay longer than expected until all the old stories are fully retold.
Mythologies are classics, their demand might witness a downward trend after it reaches a saturation point, but they will never go out of the bookshelves.
5. Akhila Saroha: “Yashoda and Krishna” shows the uniqueness of your style of writing. Are there any authors that you enjoy reading or any books which are your favorites?
Seema Seth: I love to read a lot of novels that range across all categories. It is difficult to remember any particular book though, but The Godfather by Mario Puzo, Love Story by Erich Segal and Alchemist by Paulo Coelho are my all-time favourites. I cannot identify my writing style with any particular author though. The story comes in a flow, but Shakespeare remains on top of mind, and you can find some similarities in our styles, especially between the archaic language used at places and the poetic lines. Pardon me if I am sounding pompous, but his influence on my writings cannot be cast-off totally.
6. Akhila Saroha: How would you categorize “Yashoda and Krishna” as its appeal seems to be to a broad audience?
Seema Seth: Yashoda and Krishna has come at the right time when the world is struggling to fight the pandemic triggered depression. Only good books can help us gain control over our worrying minds at this time. And nothing can beat great mythology that is replete with self-help, motivational, entertaining and inspiring lessons. With (the pandemic imposed) time at our disposal, we can read good books. They will surely help us restore faith and belief in life to fight the current blues and sail through the catastrophe undauntedly. Indian mythologies must be read for their relevance in today’s trying times; they hold the key to world peace with their information and knowledge. They can be extremely therapeutic, and that’s the need of the hour.
7. Akhila Saroha: “Yashoda and Krishna” has given a powerful introduction to your potential as a writer. Can the readers expect more from you in the future? Please share about your future projects.
Seema Seth: As of now, I am simply busy with the marketing of this book. But, I want to complete the cycle of three themes like that of D ante Alighieri’s La Commedia, Heaven, Earth and Hell. While Y and K conforms to Paradiso, both literally and figuratively, Until Kohinoor, and the ones before, were Purgatory in nature, and the third, in my mind is Inferno- a book on satans. I hope I can complete the loop.
8. Akhila Saroha: What is the story behind the title of your work, “Yashoda and Krishna”?
Seema Seth: I lived away from my parents for the first seven years of my life. And when I finally met them, I held grudges, one too many. My mother, who liked to stay immersed in her duty, catering to the needs of other family members before mine, appeared to me like a robot, perfect and emotionless. On the other hand, I was a sensitive and dramatic child, who, at the time of getting hurt, would disown her immediately, and then tell people that I had lost my identity and was found in a basket by a riverside perhaps. It appeared to be a gargantuan task to break the ice, and find acceptance in an alien-like family initially.
I started to work hard. Soon, I topped my class, and excelled in sports, settling for nothing other than gold medals in sprinting events. I was so well received in my school in the first year itself that my parents couldn’t help but take notice of me. I got my much-awaited first hug then. I worked harder and started to draw accolades and honours by the dozens, uninterruptedly. I became a superstar, dwarfing the personas of the others in the family. My dad would prefer to see my face first thing in the morning to know my plans and mom loved me secretly, hiding her overpowering emotions from the other two. I had managed to unravel the soft heart that lay behind her nut-tough, dutiful façade. My emotions were pure. I could discuss with them anything under the sun without any kind of inhibition that my brother and sister couldn’t. They were shy. That’s why you will find the book very emotional at places. The feelings depicted in them are germane to those that I shared with both my parents, especially my mother. They are natural and run deep. And, that’s how the title of Yashoda and Krishna came into being.
9. Akhila Saroha: How easy or difficult was it for you to write on something as complex as human emotions and remain objective and concise about them at the same time in “Yashoda and Krishna”?
Seema Seth: In a lifetime, one experiences a gamut of emotions starting from happy, sad, shocking, thrilling… and much more. And to capture these in writing will be the biggest challenge for a writer if he has not experienced these himself. Authentic writers write what they experience. Research is very important, and to feel not just our own emotions, but that of others as well, makes a good writer. A worthy writer is sensitive to the T, and I have justified a mother and a child’s bonding, their deep-seated emotions with the threads of my own relationship with my parents; being the youngest child has its own advantage, u can loll a bit longer in the sun than the elder sibling(s), and enjoy substantial love and attention than the rest.
10. Akhila Saroha: In the present time, books featuring the subject of “Yashoda and Krishna” do not find much mention. What, according to you, could be the possible reason for that?
Seema Seth: Well, we take the relationship of a mother and a child for granted that’s why there are fewer books on this subject. Moreover, we all write essays on Mother, which comes easy. But we are never asked to write on Stepmother. If my book can transform the meaning of foster parenting and change a few by making them more reflective of foster relationships, I will be done. At the same time, biological relationships will also improve after the readers find a connection with the main protagonists. Yashoda was an archetype of uninhibited motherhood, notwithstanding the discouraging, biological constraints.
11. Akhila Saroha: If you were to describe your book “Yashoda and Krishna” in a few words without giving any spoilers, what would those words be?
Seema Seth: My book will open up shy children and parents, both biological and step/foster, and bring them closer. It is a must-read book for parents and their children aged 12 and above. It has no sexual content despite the adult categorization. Nowadays, children mature faster, 12 is the new adult, if we go by the digital revolution. Defining my book in a few words will be difficult. Love your mother by the same token as hers, unconditionally, for a much happier relationship. I hope you got the message.
12. Akhila Saroha: What advice would you give to budding writers who may be planning to write in the same genre as “Yashoda and Krishna”?
Seema Seth: Put your true feelings in words. Don’t just write for the sake of getting published. It’s a great pleasure to be here today. Thank you so much for finding me worthy of your site. I have been a freelance writer and worked as a copyeditor for Franchise India for some time. I have also been a gold medalist half-marathon runner and a beauty queen.
Thank you for finding me worthy of your site