Swati Kale is the eminent author writing in Marathi and English. She has a remarkable book to her credit such as “Goshti Palikadche Mahabharat” and she is also a renowned translator of English books “Dog Boy” (Eva Hornung) , “I Am Another You”(Priya Kumar), “Terrific Women Teachers” (Helen Wolfe). She has also written and edited “Yesterday,Today and Tomorrow of Indirect
Taxation”. By profession, a bureaucrat, she believes in the famous quote of George Elliot; ‘lt’s never too late to be what you might have been.’
Her recent book “Goshti Palikadche Mahabharat” received many prestigious awards and established her as a literary marvel and embodiment of creativity.
Here are the excerpts of the conversation depicting her glorious journey so far.
Q. How did you start writing?
A. Anne Frank said, “I can shake off everything as I write, my sorrows disappear. My courage is reborn.” In my childhood, I always wrote a
diary and forgot everything about the world. As a child, I was always surrounded by authors. My grandfather was an advocate and author. My father was a historian, and my mother too is a renowned author. So, writing is in my blood. It just happened naturally. Journey started without knowing it was a journey.
Q. Tell us about your other interests other than writing.
I like to travel, read and study in different areas of academics. I am Visharad in Kathak classical dance, completed my graduation in French, comparative Mythology and Indian Aesthetics. Apart from Law background, I also completed Masters in Archaeology. I love to explore different fields as I believe versatility is the extra string to a player’s bow.
Q. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I scribble a lot and I’m not at all satisfied until something sparkling in my writing happens. I always wait for that one unusual moment and
when it comes, I start writing in a flow.
Q. Why did you chose to write on ‘Mahabharata’?
Few years back I was doing a project on ‘Pandavani.’ It is a folk art form of Mahabharata and I had the opportunity to talk to Padma Vibhushan Teejan Bai, who is a renowned Pandavani artist from Chhattisgarh.
During that period, I researched intensively about this great epic and had a revelation that this ancient epic is still relevant to us even today. When I started writing, I felt as if an invisible hand was guiding me to write about this great epic.
Q. What is your thought about the status of Indian women in the Mahabharata period?
The status of women in the context of emerging Janapadas in the epic period and the new changing dynamics of the nascent Agrarian society is the subject matter of deep research. However, there are many instances where one can observe that women in Mahabharata had their independent existence which was used cleverly in the given sociopolitical context. Thought processes of women in Mahabharata are
genuinely independent. Satyabhama was an equal partner of Krishna, so was Droupadi.
Q. Please tell me about your translation experience.
A. Translation is my passion and I translated many English books into Marathi. “Dog Boy”(Eva Hornung), “I am another you”(Priya Kumar), “Terrific Women Teachers”(Helen Wolfe) are some of my translation works. As I always felt, translation work is more difficult than writing my own book. Translator reads the author’s mind without interfering with his own imagination.
Q. You are more comfortable in which form of writing?
A. I feel, all forms are interesting. In fact, sometimes drama is like a beautiful poem and a poem has an amazing drama element in it. Whatever may be the form, intensity matters.
Q. Are you a disciplined or spontaneous writer?
A. I am a blend of both. For my research work, I spent many sleepless nights in the solitary confinement. Lived in libraries for collecting references. For my recent book, Goshti Palikadche Mahabharat, every written word required a thorough research and deep understanding of the work. At the same time, my take on Vyasa Mahabharata has plenty of soulful moments, moments of creativity and spontaneous overflow of emotions recollected in tranquillity. So I feel, I have the mind of a spontaneous writer with a soul of researcher.
Q. What is your next work looking like?
A. Readers can anticipate to read some fine aspects of Maharashtrian culture in my upcoming book. Book is under publishing process.