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Legends & Lore

Various motifs used in The Garud Prophecies, Sitara's story have interesting legends surrounding them, in reality and myth. Here are some of them, as in the story and as used otherwise...

The Animal Familiars
The Garud / Eagle

In the story, the Garud is the mystical Eagle who appears to central character Padmini to warn her of the approaching apocalypse and the end of the world. In the Marathi language, the word for 'Eagle' is 'Garud'. Both words, 'Garud' and 'Eagle' have interesting legends woven around them.

The Eagle is known of course as the king of birds, so elevated, it is said that he will not eat a dead prey, but hunt his own kill before eating it. More folklore: an eagle will always soar above a storm. And then, he is the only bird apparently, that can look directly into the sun.

The Garud in India mythology is the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. He is also in traditional lore, the messenger between Gods and men. In the fictional story The Garud Prophecies, Sitara's story the Garud is also a messenger, conveying a mystic message

The Eagle has long been known as one of the largest if noblest birds of prey. As with reality, so too, fiction: The story mentions the Eagle's immense wingspan, as his exquisite courtesy whilst addressing Padmini. His other name in the story: Wind Rider.

What is especially noteworthy is the Eagle's association with both power and bravery through history. The emblem of the elite U.S. warriors, the Navy SEALS includes an Eagle, as does the U.S. coat of arms/seal. Down the ages, coats of arms of many nations including Germany, Egypt and Indonesia have included the Eagle, in varied versions and species, including two headed, bald etc. Information available also speaks of the elite Indian air force warrior wing called Garuda, a special force unit formed to combat terror.

Going further, into final frontiers, think Lunar module of the 1969 moon mission, and the now immortal words: 'The Eagle has landed'!!

A horse called Badal

In The Garud Prophecies, Sitara's story, the mystical horse Badal is created by central character Leila of her imagination. He is named to remind her of the unmenacing soft clouds in a summer sky.

In Indian mythology, the bravest of the warrior queens, Rani Lakshmibai, who fought to death on the battlefield defending her kingdom from the British invaders (and on whom the famed Hindi poem is based), had a valiant steed - he was called Badal.

The Pariah, Tir

In The Garud Prophecies, Sitara's story, the pariah dog adopted by central character Sitara is called Tir, named for his unerring-as-arrowpoint intent, as in the Hindi word, Tir, which means arrow

In the ancient Runic alphabet, Tir or Tyr stands for Teiwaz, or arrow. The runic symbol is an arrow, the symbol of the War God, and according to folklore the rune was used by warriors for protection, strength and conquest. It was said to bestow immense will power in battle.

The Thunderbird, Anandi

In The Garud Prophecies, Sitara's story, the flame bird or thunderbird appears as guide, as saviour and protector, leading the besieged survivor group to safety. It is fed of fire and flame, yet it does not burn central character Waman when it alights on him.

In mythology, the thunderbird was associated with the ability to change weather conditions. It was said to have a huge wingspan as well. The belief, cultivated chiefly among the American Indians, a vastly spiritual people, underlined that the name 'Thunderbird' originated apparently from the conviction that the beating of those enormous wings caused thunder and moved the wind. Thunder was believed to be a sign the spirits were at war in the skies, but this also apparently predicted victory for tribal wars fought on the ground.

Mythmaking has its basis in reality, across communities and cultures
The community of Astara

A writer steals from experience, any way possible. The Astarians in The Garud Prophecies, Sitara's story are modelled on communities in my native Sawantwadi and to a lesser extent Maharashtra hillstations Matheran and Bandardhara, whilst visualising topography.

In the interiors of Sawantwadi especially, I found the people to be wondrous honest, extremely simple and hardworking to a fault. Having little, yet willing to share, and extremely attuned to the living ecosphere around them, from which they eked a living farming, they knew seasons from the way the trees looked and change of wind from blades of grass.

Much of Sawantwadi is already changing, sadly there is blatant destroying of natural resources as rapid commercialisation takes over. The details are best left for hard news reportage at a later date.

As for the purported nuclear facility in genesis for a while...less said the better. Only this: if you research enough you will realise that Jaitapur is situated ostensibly on a seismically sensitive region. The Konkan, noted for its green, stunning beauty is already under threats from 'development projects' along the Western Ghats, reports are specific. The last thing I would want is for my story to become eerily prescient in describing the kind of culmination that could've been averted had we but listened to what the environment was/is trying to say.


Widely used in mythology, shapeshifters go back to its oldest tellings - totemism and shamanism included. Fairytales use shapeshifting all the time: like in Beauty and the Beast, and shapeshifters appear in different forms across all cultures. In The Garud Prophecies, Sitara's story, shapeshifting is the key to the Garud's identity, and as in many altered mindstates, there is no recollection of this state later.