Written by Vishab Thappa
On the morning of January 25, 2012, in Pune, a bus driver went on a horrific rampage on the road for 45 minutes, killing nine people and injuring at least 30 others. The 39-year-old driver, Santosh Mane, was arrested after police — who had earlier fired 10 rounds in the air in an attempt to force him to stop — and the public got on the bus when it slowed down after hitting two cars. Mane’s wife said he was stressed and overworked from being forced to drive long routes.
The event inspired city-based author Salil Desai, who is known for his crime writing, to write ‘The Sane Psychopath’, which was released a few weeks ago. The lead character in ‘The Sane Psychopath’ also goes berserk on the roads of Pune, killing and injuring people who come in his path.
Desai, who shot into the limelight with his ‘Inspector Saralkar’ series, had taken a break to write ‘The Sane Psychopath’. This book, which he slots in the ‘socio-psychological’ genre, explores what drives people like his character, Shubash Lande, and in general people who go on a killing spree.
“We have become a confused kind of society, with one leg on the shore and one in the sea. The incident of the bone-chilling rampage on the streets of Pune in this book is inspired from a similar incident that took place in Pune on January 25, 2012. While the book is a fictionalised version of this incident, the killing of innocents by a bus driver is the core of this novel,” he said.
An avid reader of crime thrillers, Desai said he was intrigued by the way the minds of psychopaths function. He is more interested in the workings of their mind and less in their actions. Through this book, he has tried to understand what makes a psychopath as well as the society in which they are formed. “It scares me that there are so many people in this country and not a lot of them have safety valves, and I wanted to write about it,” he said.
Through ‘The Sane Psychopath’, Salil has explored mental illness and how much it is prevalent in our society.
He talks of how mental illness is often frowned upon or ignored by the people around the victim.
But Desai isn’t done with the ‘Inspector Saralkar’ series. He said there are “bigger things in store” as he is already in talks for a web-series. The series was selected for the MAMI film festival vote-to-screen contest from among 300 books.