It’s common to find top cops turn to penning books about their time in the force. But Brijesh Singh, Additional Commissioner North, Mumbai, has done the same, albeit with a difference. Instead of writing a memoir on the time he has spent hunting down terrorists, he has used his considerable experience in the field to write a pot-boiler of a novel, Quantum Siege (Penguin, Rs 250). The 252-pager follows Rudra Pratap, a policeman with an attitude who looks to foil a terror plot in the city even as he breaks rules, falls in love and breaks into Zen parables.
“I believe a cop’s life is shrouded in mystery. People don’t really know what happens in a control room, and whatever they know is through the media who get a watered down version of true events,” says Singh. After much coaxing from friends and family, and a decent contract from Penguin, Singh started writing Quantum Siege.
“During terror attacks, it is a live wire scenario. You develop theories, and don’t even know if you are going down the right path. There is internal and public pressure. That’s the pace I wanted to bring to the book,” says Singh, who has set the story over two-and-a-half days. The impossible timeline for stopping a bomb blast gives the book a thriller-like pace.
Singh too has had his fair share of terrorist chases. He jumped into the deep end, when he joined the Mumbai Police as Deputy Commissioner South Bombay, four days after the train blasts of 2006. He has also had a brush with a terror outfit in Aurangabad, which yielded the largest haul of weapons and RDX from a terrorist. This experience does seem to seep into the book.
If you look beyond the pop, the book does offer an insight into the functioning of the police — from how various departments interact with each other, to how officers in different ranks address each other. “I wanted to give people an idea of how people interact with the prime minister or how foreign agencies interact with each other,” says Singh. It’s not just his experience that the book makes use of. A few characters are also based on people who currently work in the police, but Singh prefers not to name them.
The book was written in two months, and has been well received. While Singh does not wish to make this into a series yet, he does hope that there might be Bollywood offers in the future. “There is a cinematic quality to the book. It captures daily moments in a cop’s life. It would be nice to see it on screen,” he says.