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LIFE AND TIMES OF A MYTHOLOGICAL HERO.

FROM BLOGGING about Hindu mythology and science to writing an entire novel on a mythological character, a lot has changed for Dr. Vineet Aggarwal in the past few years. Three years ago, the first- time author who is a doctor by qualification decided to use his educational base to try and decode Hindu mythology through the prism of science on a blog. Not only did the popularity of the blog grow -- he has close to one million views on his blog now -- it also piqued the interest of a publishing house. His book Vishwamitra ( Penguin; Rs 199) is the result of that success.

" I didn't want to write about a major mythological character," explains Dr. Aggarwal about his decision to pen a story around a wellknown Vedic sage. " Most people know about Rama, Shiva and Krishna, so I didn't want to write about them.

Vishwamitra's name elicits recognition, but people don't know much about him. This book is true to the scriptures with respect to the main events, but there are some parts that have been fictionalised." With the intent of writing a book aimed at the urban population, especially those who are " inquisitive about their culture", Dr. Aggarwal has drawn all the elements of action, romance and drama into the book.

For his next book, he will continue the mythological strain, but focus on a different character.

Coming back to the book at hand, Vishwamitra , he says, is a mix of both the styles of authors Devdutt Pattanaik and Amish Tripathi -- the stalwarts of the mythological genre in India. " I admire Devdutt Pattanaik immensely but while his style is interpretive, my intent is scientific.

In Amish's case, larger- than- life stories are brought down to size. I would say that my book is a mix of both their styles." Much before he picked up either of their books though, Dr. Aggarwal was a fan of another source of mythological stories. " Every weekend, my father would buy an issue of Amar Chitra Katha for my sister and our job used to be to finish it entirely within a week.

This inculcated my interest in reading as well as mythology," he says.

From reading Amar Chitra Katha issues on the weekends to writing a mythological story for the masses, Dr.

Aggarwal has come a long way.

By Srijani Ganguly Vineet Aggarwal's first book tells the story of the Vedic sage Vishwamitra.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jan 4, 2015
Words:418
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