BENGALURU: Passion for writing and riding came together for this defence official in his debut thriller fiction – The Lost Faith. Over the past four years, serving Army officer Piyush Semwal carefully scripted out the story, chronicling his travels as a solo rider since 2011, during the few hours he could scrape off work.
Memories of his journey of more than 80,000 km on his R15, and his hometown in Dehradun have formed a significant part of the imagery in his novel. A wolf-infested valley, however, adds to the element of fiction.
To keep his two passions alive, Piyush told CE that he penned down his experiences by burning the midnight oil since 2015. Even so, there was an inevitable two-year break during his posting. But he managed to make up for it in the year that followed, he added.
“The bike has been like a younger brother to me,” he said, adding that he reserved his annual break for long journeys and weekends for short solo rides.
Solo-riding, unlike group riding, has its own perks, he explained. One is able to meet new people and have the flexibility of exploring on one’s own, which a group ride fails to provide.
“For instance, I once met an elderly man en route Shimla from Dehradun. He rode a 1990s model Royal Enfield, one that heats up the engine very often. But he put it to advantage to heat up the cutlets he was to eat. And this character has a mention in the novel,” he said. So does the chic sense of style in Bengaluru in other characters, he adds.
While he captures the scenic beauty of Dehradun, the book is also a catharsis for the ‘daring’ spirit. “Why do people travel all the way to Africa to watch wild and angry tuskers, or a hyper lioness ready to safeguard anyone in order to protect her cubs? It is that pure adrenaline rush, my friend.Travellers like that close-quarter encounters. That delicate cocktail of fear, danger and fun with a hint of safety can really give you an all-time high,” explains a character in the novel.
Through the book, Major Piyush also opens the readers to orthodoxy and superstition where demigods are found exploiting locals. That also explains the title, Piyush adds.
His original title, Dwindling Faith, was reworked to connect with the Indian audience in its current form – The Lost Faith. The novel was released recently at Sapna Book House. Currently, Major Piyush is working on a sequel, The Lone Rider.