06 February, 2018

#Interview with Sudipto Das, #Author of The Aryabhata Clan

About the Author:
The Bangalore-based Sudipto Das shot to literary fame with his debut novel, The Ekkos Clan, a historical, research-based mystery that released in 2013. Following the success of his first book, Das has launched his second novel The Aryabhata Clan in December 2017. An alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, Das’ life experiences are manifold: his family left Bangladesh during the horrific riots and he heard many of the strife-torn stories during his growing up years in Calcutta, which had a profound influence on his first book. A veteran in the semi-conductor industry and a successful entrepreneur, Das always had a natural inclination towards the creative arts: an accomplished violinist, he founded the music band Kohal in 2007. However, his first love was always writing, which gave him creative satisfaction like no other art form could. 
His literary journey began with The Ekkos Clan, that received much critical acclaim. The book was deeply rooted in ancient Indian history, linguistic paleontology, astronomy, archaeology, and the Rig Veda. The dawn of the new year sees the release of the sequel to his first book; it is based on the mathematician Aryabhata. The plot revolves around the Islamic State spreading its tentacles in India, gradually infiltrating the politics, media, academics space, spearheaded by a young physicist from Bangladesh. And it's all up to the beautiful and spirited 20-year old Kubha to save her country from the impending apocalypse.
The co-founder of two successful start-ups and the General Secretary of Sarathi Socio Cultural Trust, Das is all set to enthrall millions of readers with a book replete with twists and turns, a true mark of a writer in complete control of his prolific craft.


An Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I have been writing since the 90s, when I was a student at IIt KGP. I thought of writing a novel in 2008. 

What inspires you to write?
The urge to do something that might outlive me, something that would make someone happy, something that would inspire someone.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
Wanted to write something about the contemporary issues like the ISIS, the religious fundamentalism, shallow politics, the role of media and the intellectuals in misguiding the society etc. Again, as I was writing a sequel to my previous novel - The Ekkos Clan, languages, history and related things must play a big role as the historical background. While doing my research on various things I suddenly stumbled upon Aryabhatiya, the book written by Aryabhata and I realized that all the above things could be joined together to make a story.

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
Yes, the second book I wrote is yet to the light of the day - it's called Prembajar, which I co-authored with Aparajita Dutta. It's about lesbianism and parallel sexuality.

Tell us about your writing process.
I read more than I write. And I generally write in the nights, after 10pm, till I can remain awake. I give my drafts to my friends to read and I take their feedback very seriously. Then I rewrite the entire thing many times before giving the manuscript to an editor. I also get it critiqued by a few professional reviewers and I incorporate their feedback too. That's why the final version comes into being.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
The favorite scenes are the ones where Parush reminisce Kubha, in bits and pieces, during the 2-3 days he is running around in search of Kubha, who has been kidnapped. The scenes are very poignant and unfurls various dimensions in the personalities of both the characters.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
Yes, Kratu & Parush both have bits and pieces of me. Kratu's character was developed more in my previous novel The Ekkos Clan and Parush's in my yet to be published novel. Both the characters derive heavily from my experiences during my college life, especially in IIT KGP. In The Aryabhata Clan though, neither of the characters are of that age - they are both in their late 40's now and don't have much similarities to me now. 

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
At times, I'm stuck with a single line for days. I just don't figure out even a single word which could be used next. I give up writing and watch movies or listen to music for days.

Do you read? Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I read everything under the sun. Jeffry Archer is one of my favorites. I wonder how he writes pages after pages which keep me hooked. I like Amitav Ghosh, Jhumpa Lahiri and Khaled Hosseini a lot and I subconsciously emulate all of them, perhaps because they all write about very regional nuances for a much wider audience, something that I too tend to do. I like classics also, - Tagore, Kalidasa, Keats have the most impact on me. I like ancient books like Rig Veda and Upanishads also.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
Read read read

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Read read read

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
Afsar: Angelina Jolie, Parush: Irfan Khan, Kubha: Anne Hathaway, Kratu: Amir Khan, Shamsur Ali: Paresh Rawal

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
My violin - to play my favorite songs, my kindle - to read my favorite books, my laptop - to write

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
Reading & writing, listening & composing music, watching movies. Any new place helps me in unwinding.

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
Many: Spending a week anywhere in the world, just writing; Given my love for music, stranded on an island with Shreya Ghoshal & Sunidhi Chauhan; Writing a book which would inspire at least a 100 people to become authors; setting the entire Kalidasa's Meghaduta to music; My startup Insilico going IPO by 2020.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
I'm obsessed with food - the first thing I look out for at a new place is the best place serving good chicken.
My distinctive accent - once someone felt I speak a rare dialect of Hindi
My nickname – Alu

What do you have in store next for your readers?
Prembajar, I've already talked about.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
I would like my readers to send me their frank feedback and I promise I'll improve in my next novel.

About the Book:
The Aryabhata Clan is set in 2010, nearly two decades after The Ekkos Clan that unfolded in the 1990s. The Islamic State is spreading its tentacles in India, slowly making forays into the spheres of academia, media and politics. The mastermind Shamsur Ali, is a physicist from Bangladesh who wants to destabilize India by creating a sort of apocalypse. And it's all up to the beautiful and spirited 20-year-old Kubha to prevent this at any cost.
The thrust of the novel centers around a diabolical plan to legitimize the demolition of one of the most prominent historical structures in India. Afsar Fareedi, a linguistic paleontologist and main protagonist of The Ekkos Clan, catches the fraud. Amid all this mayhem, there are three gruesome murders, including that of her father, to perhaps eliminate all traces of a carpet, which Afsar discovers, has a lot hidden in its mysterious motifs, and which incidentally her father had a hand in making. And at the center of all this is a verse composed by the eccentric mathematician, Aryabhata, 1500 years ago.

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