A squad from Bombay of the ‘bloody 90s’

Sometimes we come across real life stories that are more captivating than fiction. These are stories that make us believe in destiny.
A squad from Bombay of the ‘bloody 90s’

CHENNAI: Sometimes we come across real life stories that are more captivating than fiction. These are stories that make us believe in destiny. Here is such a story about a finance nerd-turned-entrepreneur who is now a full time writer, where a wedding gift changed his entire perspective.

“Such is life,” says V Sanjay Kumar to CE when asked about how he ended up in literature. “I would say my marriage changed my life (laughs). It was in 1989 and someone gifted us an art piece by MF Hussain. I became fascinated by that and that’s how I stepped in to a gallery and then eventually writing,” says Sanjay about his transition from the corporate world to the art world.

After graduating from IIM in 1982, he set  up businesses in investment banking, stock broking, banking software and finally in Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, on contemporary art. The Third Squad, his third book, has its own uniqueness when it comes to the plot and character. “Though it’s a crime thriller, the way I constructed the story is the same as that of my earlier books. It doesn’t just have characters but it has different layers too. It is based in Mumbai,” explains Sanjay about the difference in narration compared to his earlier works.

The plot of the new book is inspired from the Bombay of early 90s. The ‘bloody 90’, as he calls it, was a time when the city was literally at war. The blast, riots, and encounter killings all inspired Sanjay to structure the narration. The story revolves around a top marksman from the police encounter killing force with mild Asperger’s Syndrome. Why Asperger’s? “I lived there during the turmoil and it inspired me to get in to a narrative structure.

The reason I decided to give this syndrome to the main lead is because the basic nature of people with Asperger’s is that they have limited understanding of others’ feelings. So, it would be interesting to travel with the main lead as he develops some morals and decides to question orders rather than just following it. It is not a spoiler as such. Like I said, it is all about characters and how they deal with morals and integrity,” he says.

He believes that in India, there is a lack of thrillers in English. “I don’t know about the market perspective, but if I want to read a thriller,  don’t have much options here. I think there are more thrillers in regional languages than in English,” he opines.

Sanjay finds inspirations from the street. He walks through the streets to get the sense of realism. His earlier works dealt with exploring middle class city life. “I grew up in Chennai and that helped me write my second book, Virgin Gingelly, which deals with a narration that describes a typical brahmin household. Since my father didn’t have a house here, we lived in rented houses and all of those houses belonged to brahmins. All those years of observation helped me build the narrative,” he says.
Sanjay’s first book Artist, Undone is a part of his own story. The story is partly inspired by his entry to the art world without knowing much about it. “I hope I can keep writing and get publishers to publish my books,” says Sanjay about his dream.

‘The Third Squad’ will be released at Amdavadi restaurant today at 7 pm. For details,
call 8608685156

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The New Indian Express