A Tantrik Detective – who is a woman, that’s the story of Anantya, who runs around Delhi fighting crimes and solving mysteries. The stories of Shweta Taneja are based in modern-day Delhi but have a supernatural element to them. Full of action, adventure and the sass of Anantya, one is always at the edge of their seat when reading them.
The second book in the series was launched on Sunday, 11th of June in Bangalore. ‘The Matsya Curse’ is about a strange phenomenon that’s taken over Delhi – a supernatural force that is melting creatures in the city, and Anantya is trying to find out the mystery behind all of it. The first book of the series was called Cult of Chaos and touted as India’s first Tantrik Detective novel.
The launch was a small event at the British Council Library which started with a quiz on science fiction, popular culture and tantrism, followed by a book reading and discussion with the author. Shweta later met everyone and signed their books.
Shweta’s books talk a lot about Hindu mythology, and the monsters in the books are Indian monsters.
During the one-on-one question round, she said, “When I decided to write an urban fantasy, I wanted to create an occult detective, but wanted it in the Indian myth system rather than the European myth system.”
Anantya, is a feminist, and doesn’t care much about societal norms.
Sweta says, “It was really interesting to create a female tantrik, she is very unusual. When I was writing her character, I wanted a female character to have all the fun of going out into the world and solving crimes and mysteries.” “It was freeing to create her in a way, all of us have social mores, but by writing her character, I also had a lot of fun,” she added.
The protagonist, Anantya is bold and is out on the dangerous streets of Delhi at night, when no woman would dare go out alone.
When asked about how she began writing on such a topic, she said, “I was always interested in mythology. We all grow up with stories that our grandmothers and mothers tell us. Those are the stories that build up your core of storytelling. So, mythology and folklore were a natural choice for me. I am also interested in speculative fantasy and science fiction, so I wanted to combine all of these topics that I love, and that’s where Anantya’s character came in, because I wanted to base a detective in our current world, with our social, political issues, but also build up a world of supernatural in that.”
Since this is the second book in the Anantya Tantrist series, Shweta assured the audience that there is one more coming out, but it is still in a draft stage and she will have to do the dreaded job of editing it.
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