V. Sudarshan’s book, Adrift: A True Story Of Survival At Sea, draws from real life

It must be a challenging task for a journalist to write a book entirely with facts and make it a memorable experience for its readers. It is this task that V. Sudarshan has successfully accomplished through his latest book Adrift: A True Story Of Survival At Sea.

Adrift was recently launched in Kochi at a brief ceremony. Launching the book, Vice-Admiral (Retd.) K. N. Sushil said that there is more life in the sea than in the land and applauded V. Sudarshan for bringing out a book on one of the adventures of seamen with his exceptional writing skill.

Incidentally, Adrift is Sudarshan’s second book published based on real facts. His first book Anatomy of an Abduction: How the Indian Hostages in Iraq Were Freed, was well received and is being made into a film by acclaimed film maker Dibakar Banerjee. An anthology of Sudarshan’s short stories was also published earlier.

Adrift is a skilful narration of a dive trip in a dinghy from Port Blair to Sir Hugh Rose Island, 20 nautical miles away, which eventually turned out to be a dreadful sea adventure as the crew lost its way and was adrift for a week.

Sudarshan says that he ventured to write the book for two reasons. He perceived that an interesting and strictly Indian adventure book could be written from this real incident that happened ten years ago. In this work, the readers become witnesses to the eventualities of the adventure as they read through it.

Another reason was that Sudarshan wanted to try his hand at the genre of literature termed as ‘creative non-fiction’ or ‘faction’, a portmanteau of fact and fiction. Faction is quite popular in western literature but is yet to get similar response in India.

When asked why Kochi was chosen to launch this book, the author said that he likes Kerala for its outstanding credentials like high literacy rate and the reading habits of its people.

Interestingly, one of the chapters of the book is titled ‘Willingdon Island’, referencing the beautiful landscape sandwiched between the mainland of Kochi, Ernakulam and Mattancherry. In this chapter, the author narrates the training the leader of the crew undertook while he was serving in the Indian Navy.

Sudarshan signs off with a simple observation, “There are stories all around. If we narrate them properly, readers will find them interesting.”

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