Happy Tuesday. Today, I’m excited to share an exhilarating interview with Mr. Ravi Valluri, the author of the book ” A tale of parallels.”
Be sure to check out the full interview below and you can also find the link to buy this beautiful book.
1) What inspired you to write A tale of parallels? Tell us a bit about your book.
A Tale of Parallels consists of 15 short stories and one play. This book was written during the second lockdown. I was transferred from Prayagraj to Chennai and my wife and I were holed up literally in a one room Officers Rest House at Sterling Road Railway officers colony Chennai. My book Magic of the Mind was unveiled and there was time on hand as we were working from Rest House ( WRH).
During my spare time in the rest house , we were watching OTT on the small screen. But I found something lacking and decided to do something more creative . In my pendrive I stumbled upon a list of plots or broad story lines and prompts which I had noted down while planning to write yet another collection of short stories after HeartBreak at Coffee Shop – An Array of Tales. It was in my mind to write another collection of short stories but the inspiration came from two things- a book on Mahabharata curated by the noted author DevDutt Patnaik and to spend time fruitfully.
2) I see that in the blurb of “A tale of parallels” there is a mention about the stories being spun on popular mythological characters from Mahabharata, Zen and more, how did you come up with such a unique idea?
Yes a majority of the stories are based on Mahabharata , other myths in our pantheon and Zen stories. Sometime back I had read a book on Duryodhana and other characters of Mahabharata ( primarily the Kauravas) and that was linked to the corporate world. Next I have always been fascinated by characters like Karna , Aswathama , Abhimanyu , Eklavya among others who could not achieve their full potential in life. Why was that so I always ponder? Does one have to be all the time righteous in life to be extremely sucessful and popular. In real day life there are people with not such a savoury background who have climbed the staircase of success. I read two pages of a Zen book daily , which helps me to understand and appreciate various shades of human life. A small chapter captured my imagination. Life is not totally black or white – there is a large shade of grey in between. This makes Buddhism a very inclusive religion. It is so peaceful and seems to have answers to several queries especially during the times of Pandemic . Over the past few months I have been practising Vipassana meditation ( after the tragic loss of my mother to Covid) apart from regular meditations of Art of Living which I do daily in order to bolster my inner strength.
Meanwhile , I received this book on Mahabharata and decided to give a twist to the tales based on the epic. Mahabharata is one of the most fascinating works which captures black, white and grey so succinctly. Thus the idea germinated and it has been captured beautifully on the cover of the book. The Pandavas below , then two sets of arrows where the name of the book is written and then modern characters ( present times) . They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I feel the stories are representative of our present times relying heavily in our myths , legends , mythology and Zen. There was a story called 6 in 5000 ( about the Pandavas ) and how each drops dead while scaling Mt Sumeru. My wife edited the book , like all the other works and stumbled on the idea A Tale of Parallels for that particular story . And since this is the running theme of a majority of the stories we decided to Zero on the title , in consultation with the publisher AKS and promoters Jashn Events.
3) How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
I have written 9 books so far. 7 of them are non fiction and two are fiction. I feel Indian Stories: Images and Thoughts and A Tale of Parallels are among my favourites.
4) Can you attribute your writing skills to any teacher you have had in the past?
Parents are our first teachers ( so my father and mother have shaped my thought process) , then my Guru H.H.. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who asked me to keep writing and once said books will be published. While in school our English teacher Mrs Dere had once told my father that ,” your son should read autobiographies and write” . I have always been interested in theatre , music , public speaking and writing and working with eminent people like Barry John , Param Vir , Pankaj Kaoor and watching theatre personalities like Naseeruddin Shah , Girish Karnad , BV Karanth all shaped my deep interest in theatre and writing.
5) What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Current day events inspire me and connect them with something dramatic in the past – it could be an actual event , from fables , epics , Zen stories and weaving stories around them. So there are a couplre of stories happening simultaneously. Weaving stories and moving to and fro makes the writing extremely challenging . This I would call my quirk. Say two or more parallel stories crisscrossing and eventually reaching an unexpected end , which has a dramatic twist to it.
6) What authors do you like to read? Can you name a few books that have a strong influence on you?
I like reading biographies , autobiographies , and knowledge sheets of H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar , besides Zen stories. Among writers I like the works of Ayn Rand , Walter Issacson, Irwing Stone , Oscar Wilde Barak Obama and Mahatma Gandhi( for his simple , lucid and honest writings).
7) According to you, what is the best way to improve one’s writing skills? Any advice for the budding writers?
As Stephen King says, keep reading and writing. Further learn new words and quotations daily . It would be great to keep three diaries ( a story in A Tale of Parallels) – one to note down 20 new words , one for 20 new quotes and finally one to jot down plots and themes. Imagine at the end of a year how much knowledge one would have acquired. Further keep blogging and editing your drafts mercilessly. Do not be in a hurry. This is a Tapasya . Keep practising like a singer keeps honing his craft.
8) Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
Me and my wife will be curating an anthology shortly. Next I will be working on another short story . I have the prompts ready and stories are germinating in my mind.
I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me. It was a pleasure speaking with you and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. Thank you once again and good luck with your future endeavours.
About The Author :
Book Blurb :
Book purchasing link :