Lockdown 11: Lord Of The Rings
Lockdown 11: Lord Of The Rings
One of the benefits of the current lockdown is that it has turned the traditional concept of time management on its head. During the before corona era, most of us barely had time to be at our homes and with our families. Our day began early and every minute and hour was filled with activities, some meaningful and others meaningless. We are used to spending long periods of time traveling from our homes to our workplace; at our workplace, our time was spent attending calls, meetings, or pushing files and replying to emails. I recall that at the end of a hectic day I used to wonder how much of my time was really spent in productive work. The answer was mostly negative.
Come the virus, we are now in the corona era, and are now trying to adjust to the new concept of time management. How do you spend your time when you are confined to the four walls of your flat? How much time can you afford to sleep? How long can you keep watching TV? How much can you eat or drink? How do you keep yourself physically and mentally fit? How do you spend so much time with your spouse and children? All these questions are now being seriously debated.
For me, the lockdown afforded enough time to hone my writing and reading skills. I now spend hours writing stories, blogs, posts, and poetry. I have also suddenly revived my passion for reading. Not exactly the way I read books before, but a new and fascinating way. It is not reading in the dictionary sense, it is listening. I am indeed referring to the beautiful world of audio books and online storytelling.
Most of us have either read, or watched “Lord of the Rings” written by JRR Tolkien. In 1937, he wrote “Hobbit” and later followed it up with a sequel called “Lord of the rings” which was written between 1937 and 1949. The author’s creation could perhaps be said to be the beginning of the modern fantasy fiction era. But, hold on a bit before we declare this as true.
In the year 1888 in India a book titled “Chandrakanta” was quietly published. It was unlike any other work of fiction published earlier. We must remember that during those times, we were under the British. The language that was widely used was Urdu, and a majority of North Indians were used to reading and writing in this language. The author, Devki Nandan Khatri would not have dreamt that his new novel would create a storm!
This is how the book was advertised in 1892
Chandrakanta - never has such a strange, surprising, wonderful novel come to print – the astonishing art of Aiyyari must be seen to be believed”.
Chandrakanta is a simple tale of love between a prince and a princess. What makes it a groundbreaking story is the introduction of the Aiyyars (spies, magicians, ninjas all rolled in one) and Tilisms (magic spells).
I stumbled upon Chandrakanta on StoryTel, the portal for audio books. It was the first time that I was listening to a book being read out to me by a professional narrator. I was spell-bound and captivated by the story and the narration.
Sadly, while Tolkien's creation has earned him fame and money, Babu Khatri is virtually unheard of outside perhaps the hindi-speaking belt. Babu Khatri is credited with having introduced Devnagri (spoken dialect of Hindi) to the masses. At that time, when Urdu was the primary language, it is said that millions scrambled to learn Devnagari just to read Chandrakanta ! This was also perhaps the first Hindi fantasy novel.
I gather that a couple of TV serials were made in the book. Some film producers and directors also tried to bring the book on celluloid, but failed. I wonder if Lord of the rings could be adapted to make a series of films, highly popular and profitable, why can’t Chandrakanta be made into a film?
Netflix, Prime, Hotstar and others-are you listening?