Mythology is a genre I’ve grown up reading, and hearing, thanks in no small part to my grandmother. The tales of monarchs & avatars, and devas & asuras are still vivid in my mind. Two tales that have managed to keep me engrossed as well as make me thoughtful are that of the Samudramanthan, churning of the ocean by devas and asuras for the nectar of immortality, Amrit; and the tales of Vikram-Betaal. I’ve wondered how the former brought out even divine beings like the winged horse, Ucchaishrava or the white elephant Airavata; and the latter of course, made me contemplate the answers to Betaal’s questions before Vikrama answered them. It was with much eagerness that I stepped into a tale woven combining the two events — The Guardians of the Halahala, by Shatrujeet Nath.