Clark Prasad’s debut novel features an intriguing mix of religion, cricket, destiny and quantum physics

Thrillers seem to be the order of the day as far as Indian fiction is concerned. The latest on the block is a science fiction espionage thriller Baramulla Bomber by Clark Prasad, aka Suraj Prasad, a healthcare management consultant based in Bangalore. The action-packed narrative revolves around a Kashmiri cricketer, a Swedish intelligence officer and a weapon from the Vedas. Religion, cricket, destiny and quantum physics are thrown in together to form an intriguing concoction.

Thirty-six-year-old Prasad, who was born in Lagos, Nigeria and lived most of his life in Delhi relied on his own experiences “Past, present and potential future experiences” for the story. He also researched extensively using books, websites and travel. “I went to ground zero, Kashmir, and other places in India as well as London and New York. For example there’s a scene at Delhi Cantonment railway station. I went there at night to get the idea of the scene. I talked to an administrator inside Sher-e-Kashmir stadium in Srinagar to understand cricket in Kashmir. Other research connections came from various religious teaching during my schooling, parents and BBC radio I used to listen to as a kid.”

Part one

The book, the first part of the Svastik trilogy is a thematic look into the origins of the universe and the destiny of the human race. The plot is based on conspiracy theories and quantum physics. There is also mythology, religion espionage, spies, and mystery.

“I wrote it to help understand how ancient India played a part in global science advancement, which we have forgotten. While the first book is science fiction, with Kashmir providing the politics and physics the science, the second will have a paranormal touch, black money and new world order (secret world government) as the political theme. Instead of physics, the science will be centred on chemistry. As to the third part, I am not revealing the details now.”

After being rejected by several publishers, Prasad took the self-publishing route through Amazon’s CreateSpace platform, and in the meantime got himself a set of editors to fine tune the book. “I got the structural editing done, then copy-editing, line editing and finally proofreading. My story is complex and ambitious, so needed as many eyes as possible for advice and guidance”. And soon after this, he was signed on by Niyogi books, for the series and withdrew his book from the online platform.

But how did the idea for the book come about? Prasad says, “Disappointment and failure pushed me to the brink in 2009. During the time, I watched Shawshank Redemption. And after that something hit me. I needed to fight for my freedom and make myself victorious. The words of Shawshank Redemption came to me ‘fear holds you prisoner, hope sets you free’. There was fear of losing all, of not fulfilling dreams. It is this fear which drove me to search for hope. I had an idea for many years, not a big one, but a bold one — an idea to bring peace in Kashmir. And “what if” I took this idea and made it into a book. That’s when I became Mansur Haider the protagonist, the tormented soul with unfulfilled promises and wanted to start the journey to get my freedom. That was how the book was born.”

With over 10,000 likes on Facebook and a compelling you-tube trailer, the book is all set to grab eyeballs. Prasad says, “The Svastik trilogy is an ambitious series for the intelligent and intellectual reader. One does not need to be a genius to read the book, but it will challenge the mental capacity and not disappoint.”

Baramulla Bomber will be launched tomorrow at 3.30 pm at the Oxford Bookstore, Leela Palace. Indian cricketer Javagal Srinath will be the chief guest.