Interview With Shri Ramarao Vadapalli
On behalf of Adbhut, Dinker Charak interviewed Shri Ramarao Vadapalli via email. We thank him for taking time out to talk to us.
Has Did Sci-fi take off in India? If yes, what makes you believe so? If no, will it ever?
No, I do not think it did. But then Adbhut is different. Indians have the capacity to trust and believe beyond the willing suspension of disbelief. We as a nation can envision all kinds of heavenly/superhuman acts and incidents. We are blessed with the capacity to ‘trust’ and ‘believe’ beyond the willing suspension of disbelief. We can place ‘trust’ (This is far beyond mere belief) in curses and boons, in paap and punya. This is beyond the ken of the sinless, graceless, chromium world Graham Greene derided. SF as the westerners practice it is beyond the average Indian, the poor, uneducated who bravely faces suffering as part of karma. This is trust in a superior dispensation, not amenable to reason or science.
Is Sci-fi a “western” concept? If yes, will it always be considered so and be seen as something that was imported? If you believe that some ways it is and in some ways it is not, do you see a struggle between “western” and “Indian” for readership?
No, it is not. We have a basic belief in science. For example: the birth of Suka, son of Sage Ved Vyasa. His ejaculation into arani and Ghritachi assuming the form of a parrot and taking it and giving birth to Suka are adbhut but then birth need a male and a female. There is no ‘struggle’. Mercifully, each is left to ones will, ones taste and so on in matters of reading. This is a privilege and right yielded ungrudgingly by all to all.
Has writing (and reading) Sci-fi increased a scientific outlook in your life? What comes first — scientific outlook and then love of sci-fi or love of sci-fi and then scientific outlook?
‘Scientific’ outlook is matter of education in the right sense of the word. This outlook is salutary: it promotes appreciation of lab related, theory based imagination.
How does Sci-fi differ from ordinary fiction?
Sci-fi is woven round scientific known phenomena. The premises rest not on wild imagination alone. For its appreciation, certain initial equipment is necessary. Lack of this in the common reader in India is a hurdle for SF to flourish beyond children’s stories and films.
Is a certain level of intelligence needed for an appreciation of Sci-fi?
Yes. A certain kind f flair and capacity are necessary for appreciating Sci-fi. For appreciation of adbhut, it is already present in the readers. This is so because the fabric is based on blood-ethos. Even as a child the India is fed with fables of all kinds: the cock and the crow, the monkey and he mouse, the dove and the fox converse to enrich and entertain.
Cover pic by Bill Smith.