Author and poet C P Surendran’s journalistic background perhaps led him to script a fictitious book, based on real-life incidents. His new novel Hadal (what he says is inspired from the Greek word Hades that refers to the underworld) touches upon the ISRO spy scandal, which made it into the news in the mid 90s. The book, the author says, explains how the scandal unfolded, doused with elements of fiction as well. It also paints a picture on how one speck of false information planted, can spread like wildfire.
“But a large part of it is fiction,” clarifies the author. He goes on, “The book is just based on the incident and the characters are similar. Otherwise, the whole perspective of the book lies on the dark, manipulative Indian society. In my book, Miriam, who is an internal security officer in Maldives, comes down to Kerala for personal reasons and when her visa needs to be renewed, she approaches officer Honey Kumar, who asks her to comply with his demand for sexual favours. What happens later and how the officer framed her to have had illegal affairs with ISRO officials and that leading to spillage of confidential information, is how the plot is woven.”
He also says that the book is written from the corrupt officer’s point of view and that Honey Kumar is an example of how the country works. The very fact that an officer makes sexual demands and when they are not satisfied, he plants rumours, itself reflects on a dark and a prurient side of the society. Surendran clarifies that although the book is complex and explores a phantom land in India, it does not mean to demean the country and this work of fiction (which, according to him, exposes the truth better) is just a presentation of facts.
Although the story is based on an incident which happened in the nineties, it sets out to narrate the same incident – with variations in the actual turn of events — in today’s day and age. Instances to how news spreads on social media are also there and this perhaps will make the story more relatable to the readers.
Relieved after Hadal emerging successful after close to four years of drafting and re-drafting the story to the version it is in now, Surendran is coming up with a collection of poems – showcasing a bit of his other forte. Repeat Radio is soon to be released and he assures us that his work won’t stop with it, and signs off on a note that one can expect more of his literary works in the future.