Being the ‘adult’ fourteen-year-old that I am, I now have the privilege of looking back to my early years and referring to it as my childhood. Looking back at that time causes a wave of envy and jealousy to wash over me, as it is followed by my eyes staring into an abyss of death known as a textbook. However, as unfortunate as that may be, this is not an article highlighting the implications of teenage life; it is one focusing on the joys of a child’s. I don’t know about others, but for me, reading tales of a teenager saving the world from evil Greek and Roman mythological villains with the help of gods and goddesses certainly qualifies as a ‘joy’ in my life. Yes, I am talking about bestsellers written by Rick Riordan…
While I could further delve into the advantages of being called a ‘demigod’, I am going to drift into a similar yet completely different region. We shall move from the gods of southern Europe to those of southern Asia. We shall go from Zeus, Athena and Ares to Agni, Indra and Surya. However, as unfortunate as it may be, the latter three do not have international bestsellers based on them. The question one must ask is, why? Why are the highly alluring tales of the Indian gods and goddesses not being showcased on a global platform? I feel promotion is not the issue, the problem lies in what we are promoting.
We are promoting mythological tales set thousands of years ago written originally, in that time. The harsh truth is, the ancient no longer interests teenagers with smartphones in their hands. Our interests are based on what we see; the latest console, the ‘coolest’ trend or the most recent Marvel movie. The brilliance of the Percy Jackson series, lies within the fact that it has been modernized to the extent where I can relate to the happenings of the books. It is not set in an isolated forest; it is set in modern-day New York with Mount Olympus on top the Empire State Building. That is the standard. To truly promote our mythology, and make it appealing to younger minds, one must simply find a way to incorporate bits of the present into it.
So, this is an opportunity for all young and inspired writers out there who have had the fortune of stumbling upon this article and then even more importantly attending the Kahaani Festival where you can hone your craft interacting with master storytellers, get the “pulse” of us teenagers and what we would like to read and see. You are literally one spark of creativity away from a possible bestseller, one not based around murder, horror or comedy. One which just may find many more like me, reading about Demigods in Delhi… So make sure you mark your attendance at Kahaani; I will certainly be there!
– Ishayu Nath
The Shri Ram School, Mouslari