The cop who writes
When you see and meet him, there is no doubt that Brijesh Singh comes across as the perfect cop. Intelligent, fit, polite to a fault, techno-freak, and knowledgeable are some of the adjectives attached to this IPS officer of Maharashtra cadre. At present, additional commissioner, North Mumbai, Brijesh has revealed another side of his personality – a writer. His debut novel, The Quantum Siege, released amidst big fanfare. Amitabh Bachchan and Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria were the chief guests with other celebrities gracing this launch.
The Quantum Siege is about stopping a nuclear war in three days. While the Indian PM is trying to stop the Kashmir crisis with the UN coming in the way, the Anti-terror cell led by Rudra Pratap Singh have to save many lives in this war-like situation. What happens next makes this a racy thriller. After coming to know the brief of the book, one is intrigued to know of how one would describe Brijesh – full-time cop and part-time writer. The straight-forward cop gives a simple response. “Being a cop is for my living. Writing comes naturally to me. I have been reading all my life. There is no effort involved in doing both. If you see me with a lathi, then I am a cop. If you see me with a coffee and a book, then it is the writer. No one should confuse both these things.”
The question comes of the transition of Brijesh from a cop to becoming a writer. “I have a lot of friends who are writers, filmmakers, journalists and those working in the creative fields. I have collaborated with them on various works. I would say writing was my destiny. One of my best friends, Hussain Zaidi, had collaborated with me over stories lots of time. He would tell me that I should write and we would argue over it. While chatting over stories, certain things interested me.” And thus the plot germinated from that.
The Quantum Siege sounds like an incredible action-thriller film. Brijesh suggests that the pace and theme came from a lot of discussion with friends like Zaidi over topics. His work allowed him to be exposed to situations of national gravity. “Zaidi suggested that people would be very much interested in such stories. The world outside would want to know of the cops, their lives and work. They just don’t know anything about it. Also, we (cops) cannot speak openly about it. Crime is an interesting genre.”
They say there is a method in madness. Each writer has a certain way of writing. Brijesh reveals that he initially had written the storyline in two-and-a-half days flat. “I just knew how it was going to happen. As you start writing, the characters develop. Only when you go live in writing the story in detail, you realise that it does not go as one plans. The story evolves as one goes on and the plan one had was very different. Then the actual story happens. Only then you start enjoying the writing.” While at work, the technical factors helped it when he started writing the novel.
The life of a highly-placed cop like Brijesh is not a bed of roses, indeed. Trying to do one’s job and handle one’s passion is certainly an acrobatic effort. He admits that handling work and giving time to his book was tough. “I was not able to find a window free to do any writing. But writing itself is a rejuvenating process. Something like this happening in one’s life is an escapade.”
He had to do the balancing act of putting fact and fiction correctly and he had to compromise on some levels. That is where he took the road of what could be plausible as a fact. “I had to make sure to see how realistically possible I could make the fiction. What one saw as fact, did it look possible to the readers? I had to check if certain things could go as facts. Only after that, the things started evolving.” He never allowed work and writing to inter-mingle and he wrote between 12 at midnight and 3 in the morning.
Brijesh credits his family in their support and encouragement his work. “They never disturbed me while I was writing. They gave me the required space and encouragement to write. There were days when I just could not write and my wife helped me in getting things back. My friends were eagerly waiting on how the book would work out.” Though barely two weeks old, his book has started getting positive replies. “The strangest thing is that they said that they read the book on a single go. They could not put it down. They just had to read it.” One wonders if this has something to do with Brijesh writing the 250 pages book in two months flat. He wrote three-four pages daily and never stopped working.
After completing The Quantum Seige, Brijesh Singh is already on his next literary attempt. He does not wish to give away the details as yet. But he promises that it won’t be like his debut novel. His eagerness rubs on to us and we wish to read more from him.