Siddhi Palande
@Book_gobbler · 0:52

#TalkTo Author Anusha Rao & Suhas Mahesh Of How To Love In Sanskrit

Sanskrit is a beautiful language. It is a language of gods and language of soul. Authors Anusha Rao and Suhas Mahesh bring for us readers an enchanting book, how to love in Sanskrit. This book is lauded by renowned authors and readers as a surprising and delightful read. How to love in Sanskrit is an invitation to sanskrit love poetry, bringing together verses in short pro speech pieces by celebrated writers like Kalidas and Bana Bhatta, buddhist and jain monks, scholars, emperors, and even some modern day poets

In conversation with author Anusha Rao & Suhas Mahesh about their book How to love in Sanskrit #authorinterview #indiaspotlight #swellinterview

Siddhi Palande
@Book_gobbler · 1:19

In conversation with Anusha Rao & Suhas Mahesh about their book How to love in Sanskrit. #authorinterview #swellinterview #indiaspotlight

Hello Anusha and Sohas and welcome to my swell cast. To begin with, I'd like to ask Anusha, how did you guys come up with the idea for this book? Since you are two authors who have brought back these verses for us to relish, who was it who pitched the idea first and what was the writing process like?
Anusha Rao
@anusharao · 1:01

@Book_gobbler

Hi, Siddhi, and thanks so much for engaging with how to love in Sanskrit. To answer your question, the book was always a collaborative project and envisioned as such. But the first idea for it was actually pitched by Suhas, who had come across Princeton University's ancient guide series. And so we were wondering why we always see people reading Roomy and Dante, for instance, in airports and cafes and in parks, but never Kalidasa and Bhavabhuti
Siddhi Palande
@Book_gobbler · 0:20

In conversation with Anusha Rao & Suhas Mahesh about their book How to love in Sanskrit. #authorinterview #swellinterview #indiaspotlight

That's absolutely true, and I agree with you that this book was much needed. But then, when there are two people involved in anything, so while brainstorming conflicts are bound to happen, were there any sort of disagreements between you two over which work has to be included in this book? What was your selection process like?
Anusha Rao
@anusharao · 1:23

@Book_gobbler

And that disagreement really enriched the project itself. So in some poems, we disagreed on whether the speaker was actually a man or a woman. Sometimes we disagreed on which the best poems were that must be included in our collection. Sometimes we were reading a single poem very differently. So by working individually and then bringing our thoughts together, I think we ended with a selection of poetry that both of us were very happy with
Siddhi Palande
@Book_gobbler · 0:28

In conversation with Anusha Rao & Suhas Mahesh about their book How to love in Sanskrit. #authorinterview #swellinterview #indiaspotlight

I am glad that it did and I'm so excited to read it that I've already placed my review request with Harper and I'm waiting for to get my hands on the book. So this question is for Suhas as a reader who is uber romantic, with utmost respect for Dev bhasha, that is me, what is it that a reader like me can expect from the book? What does a reader get to read in this book that's unique?
Suhas Mahesh
@suhasm · 1:20

@Book_gobbler

And, for instance, the first chapter of our book called how to flirt has many of those. And what's unique about this book is that it's not stuffy. Most translations from classical languages tend to be stuffy, even if you take outward facing translations, for instance, the sort that you find in the clay Sanskrit library or in the Murthy classical Library of India. But this is a book that anyone can pick up and enjoy
Siddhi Palande
@Book_gobbler · 0:14

In conversation with Anusha Rao & Suhas Mahesh about their book How to love in Sanskrit. #authorinterview #swellinterview #indiaspotlight

I am absolutely excited to read the book now. So on to my next question. This is for both of you during the research process. What is it that surprised you both the most?
Anusha Rao
@anusharao · 1:46

@Book_gobbler

But what surprised me most during our research process was that the sentiments in centuries old poetry that we're looking at is so translatable, by which I mean it's so relatable, so how we miss someone that we love when they're away, how difficult breakups are, and even pick up lines from a different age altogether, are still so relatable today. And
Suhas Mahesh
@suhasm · 1:09

@Book_gobbler

Something that I found surprising, Siddhi, was how much give and take and how many borrowings there exist between Sanskrit and other languages. For instance, one of the verses in our book is actually a translation into Sanskrit from a classical tamil poem. And we only realized this after the book came into print. Otherwise, we'd probably have written a little note about it in the book
Siddhi Palande
@Book_gobbler · 0:18

In conversation with Anusha Rao & Suhas Mahesh about their book How to love in Sanskrit. #authorinterview #swellinterview #indiaspotlight

Now, that's very, very interesting. So, suhas, the book contains 220 moving, funny and at times frustrated reflections on love from 3000 years of indian thought. And that's exhaustive. How long did it take for both of you to bring it all together?
Swell Team
@Swell · 0:15

Welcome to Swell!

Suhas Mahesh
@suhasm · 1:03

@Book_gobbler

Our book has been in preparation for over a decade, in a sense, Siddhi, since we have both been reading and collecting favorite poems for many, many years now. But we really hunkered down for about two years, reading and translating all evening, every day. We had about 10,000 poems to read since we decided that we wanted to read all the love poetry that's ever been written in Sanskrit. So it was a massive undertaking
Siddhi Palande
@Book_gobbler · 0:14

In conversation with Anusha Rao & Suhas Mahesh about their book How to love in Sanskrit. #authorinterview #swellinterview #indiaspotlight

Okay. So, Anusha, Sanskrit is a beautiful language. And now we know that it is also language of love. So what is it about Sanskrit that we need to know and which we are unaware of?
Anusha Rao
@anusharao · 1:10

@Book_gobbler

Just the idea that some of the most incredible poets wrote in this language and that some of the most remarkable of philosophers thought in it should be reason enough to be interested in it and to engage with it is what I would say
Siddhi Palande
@Book_gobbler · 0:11

In conversation with Anusha Rao & Suhas Mahesh about their book How to love in Sanskrit. #authorinterview #swellinterview #indiaspotlight

Okay, so this would be my one last question before we wrap up the session. So, suhas, what can a reader take away from this book?
Suhas Mahesh
@suhasm · 0:24

@Book_gobbler

In fact, we would like to spin this question around to the audience. Poems can mean many different things to different people, and we have had readers come up with as many as five different ways of relating to the same poem. So we would love to hear from you about what you thought of the verses in our book. And please do write to us and let us know
Siddhi Palande
@Book_gobbler · 0:10

In conversation with Anusha Rao & Suhas Mahesh about their book How to love in Sanskrit. #authorinterview #swellinterview #indiaspotlight

I am so looking forward to read this book. Thank you so much Anusha and Suhas for this amazing conversation about your book how to love and sunstroke