Comic artists Biswa Kalyan Rath and writer and mythology-specialist Devdutt Pattanaik make an unlikely literay combination. Which is precisely why Unlikely Pairings, a new show from the YouTube Channel Books on Toast, brought them together.
The pair had a casual but intriguing conversation, with Pattanaik decoding myths for much of the episode. Rath posed as the attentive, occasionally humorous interviewer, asking the proverbially “intelligent” questions.
Pattanaik had plenty of enlightening answers to offer, using technology as a metaphor. “(Mythology) is the software of your culture,” he said. “So it’s the operating system which the culture sits on. So in culture, if your day-to-day activities such as eating habits or clothes is your app, then it is based on an operating system. And the operating system is mythology. So different mythologies will have different operating systems.”
As for why the Ramayana and Mahabharata continue to be so popular, here is Pattanaik’s off-beat explanation: “They deal with life. And at the base of it, is a property dispute. So it’s ghar ghar ki kahani...it’s family stories, about uncles, aunts, cousins. You don’t find this in other parts of the world.”