Interviewer: Describe yourself.
Subhadra: I…well..I am pretty young, you know. Beautiful, naughty, almost like my brother Krishna. I can also be a trickster. And sometimes, I can act mature for my age. Just like you will find in one of the war chapters. And I have powers. For example, I can create an illusion. And did I mention I am beautiful? (laughs like a child)
Interviewer: What and who are the Yadavas?
Subhadra: The Yadavas are people who are descended from the great king, Yadu, who was the son of Yayati. Now, Yayati had many sons. Two of the most prominent ones were Puru and Yadu. King Puru started the Puruvanshis. Among the notable Puruvanshis were Dushyant, Bharat, Kuru, Shantanu, Bahlika, and Bhishma. Out of these, only Bheeshma and Shantanu feature in this book. Yadu, as a Prince, was self-respecting and an established ruler. According to the Vishnu-Purana, he had four sons. Now, the kings before Yadu wee Somavamshi. When Yayati asked Yadu to exchange his years of youth, Yayati cursed Yadu that he will not have command of his father’s kingdoms. So Yadu went ahead and formed his own dynasty. We are called the Yaduvanshis. The Yadavas have many clans. The first one is Haihayas which were in turn a confederacy of five other clans whose names are Vitihotra, Sharyata, Bhoja, Avanti, and Tundikera. The second clan is the Shashabindus. The third clan is the Chedis. The fourth clan is the Vidarbhas. The fifth clan is the Satyavatas. The Satyavatas are the ones loyal to my brother, Krishna. They are comprised of the Andhakas, The Bhojas, the Kukuras, the Vrishnis, and the Shainyas. All of these clans stay in and around our city, Mathura.
Interviewer: Describe the tension in Mathura.
Subhadra: You see, my brothers, Krishna Govinda and Balarama Vaasudeva, led a successful rebellion against a tyrannical king, Kamsa, who was Krishna’s uncle. Now after the death of Kamsa, Jarasandha, his father-in-law, vowed revenge upon the Yadavas. Most of the tension in Mathura is about Jarasandha’s madness to retake the city of the Yadavas. He attacks it 17 times with not much success, but the Yadavas have failing coffers, little or no trade, etc. So you must see how the constant attention of our enemies is affecting us. Fortunately, Krishna sees a way through the ordeal. Even though we have military strength, we are hard put to it.
Interviewer: What do you think is going to happen to the Yadavas in this book?
Subhadra: Like I answered in the previous question, the Yadavas are going to feel the brunt of Jarasandha’s wrath. They are going to be attacked and a lot of them are going to die. This book is about their ordeals and survival as they try to make alliances. They fight for Dharma. To what end? You must read the book for that.
Interviewer: Who is the primary antagonist for the Yadavas and why do you think he does what he does?
Subhadra: The primary antagonist in this book is the Emperor of Magadha, Jarasandha, who belongs to the Brihadratha dynasty. I sometimes pity him, but I also loathe him. He is the cause for our worries. He thinks his actions are justified but doesn’t every man think that? He desires revenge for his son-in-law’s death, but he does not introspect himself. In the end, you will begin to question his character and his strategies. I am betting on that.
Interviewer: Are there any more enemies of the Yadavas we can expect?
Subhadra: Somewhere in the end, two new enemies support the cause of Jarasandha. But one of the three is not going to make it. And the rest of the two will become the villains of the second book. However, there are hints of a fourth enemy in the book, one who probably will not appear even in the second. Also, the Yadavas find their enemies in the least looked for places like Hastinapura, even though they are not directly involved in our track.
Interviewer: How are your relations with your brothers?
Subhadra: I can’t list every adjective synonymous to close. Krishna is the one I am closest too. Balarama is distant, but he is always treating me as if I am a child, even when I am eighteen. But then, 18 is still a child in the Dwapara Yuga. So I do not blame him. Gada is another brother I am closest to.
Interviewer: Have you heard of the Pandavas? Do you meet one in the book?
Subhadra: Of course. Who hasn’t heard of them? And yes, I meet with Bhima, but I don’t have any conversation with him. All the time he is in Mathura, all he gives a darn about is learning mace fighting from my eldest brother, Balarama. (laughs)
Question 9: What can readers expect in this book?
Subhadra: If you like warfare and mythical folklores, this is your kind of a book. The author promises you a retelling of the Mahabharata through his own interpretation. It will stick true to the epic as much as it can, however, there might be changes. Some even drastic. The series will delve into the politics of my era, but since the first book usually deals with the childhood of the heroes of Mahabharata, there isn’t much. But it doesn’t mean the scheming and plotting is entirely absent. From the second book onward though, consider an increase in political games as the years cover a shorter and detailed span, since the actual Mahabharata starts there. Consider this book a precursor to what is to come. However, I must tell you that some events are not covered in this book when it should have been, but the author has thought of other ways to incorporate those stories in the later books, through flashbacks. Just a heads up.
Interviewer: What plans does the author have for you in the second book?
Subhadra: Well, the author has promised me a greater role in the epic than the original epic. This means I will be in more sub-plots. But I think that my role expands when the alliance between the Yadavas and the Pandavas comes to a realization, and that won’t be soon, considering the various political factors concerned. Now, I do not know what the author has exactly planned for me in the second book, but if I am given a prominent role, it will be to help Krishna battle the demons that want to end our dynasty, those that are loyal to Jarasandha. How I am going to be of any help, I know not, but wish me luck that I land a meatier role to play. (smiles)
Varun Prabhu’s Book Exodus: Book One of the Mahabharata Simplified Series releases on February 28, 2015.