HYDERABAD: In life, we would love to go back in time and alter one thing that could consequently change the future thereafter. Our mind is programmed to rehearse perfect moments, thousands of times. Often, you think of situations from your past, and try to think of ways to make them perfect. Especially arguments, what if you really had the chance to do it? That’s how ‘The Alterant’ begins.
Deepak Karamungikar, author of ‘The Alterant’ talks about the journey he has embarked on. The story revolves around Jason Hunt, a brilliant PhD candidate in Quantum Physics who has another passion Julia Middlesworth, a Hollywood actress who’s past her peak.Originally from Hyderabad, Deepak believes that sentence formation is the greatest of all arts, and there’s no joy greater than the one you see in the eyes of someone who’s enchanted by your stories. ‘The Alterant’ is his fourth book. Excerpts:
What was an early experience where you learnt that language has power?
Growing up, I barely had anyone speaking English with me for purposes other than academics. I learned my English from cricket commentary. Geoffrey Boycott, Tony Greig and Harsha Bhogle were my idols. For him he right sentences at the right time, is almost magic.
What do you think makes a good story line?
There are two things emotions and surprise. You take any genre comedy, drama, sci-fi, romance or even horror, unless the story evokes emotions in the reader, it is hard to make a lasting impact. Only stories that stir your emotions are remembered. I remember reading Khushwant Singh’s stories. After every story, I used to sit quietly and feel the story. It’s very important to connect emotionally. Then the element of surprise. I was 11 when I read this book called, ‘No Comebacks’ by Fredrick Forsyth. That story has the best last line I have ever read in my life. I still feel the punch in my gut. That is why I am a big fan of twists.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that makes him different from the rest of the characters?
Jason Hunt is a brilliant but an emotional guy. He loves to drink and is passionate about Hollywood actress, Julia Middlesworth. He reveres her. It’s not romantic. In spite of never having met her in his life, he’s sincere and truthful. His professor loves him and supports him throughout the story. There are times when he has to choose between his mind and heart, he always chooses his heart with no regard to consequences. Jason is borderline idealistic, but physicists can’t be idealists. So, there’s that dilemma but he does what’s right. He’s not greedy.
Which was your favourite chapter to write and why?
My favorite chapter is the first one. I remember the tension I experienced while I began to write it. It’s a sci-fi, time travel novel. I’m a nobody. I hadn’t studied Physics academically after 10+2. I remember waking up at 4.40 am on the first day in the Virginia winter and just staring at the screen with a cup of tea by my side.All these factors were weighing in heavily as I put my hands on the keyboard. I also had to include what I had left out in the script version. Then suddenly, it began to flow.
Is there a specific significance of the book cover?
The book cover shows a wormhole, which is a hypothetical connection between widely separated regions of space and time. The story unfolds as Jason traverses through the wormholes.