Good cop, bad cop and a terror attack

Addl. CP Brijesh Singh recently launched his debut novel, The Quantum Siege. He tells Nikshubha Garg about an insider’s attempt at crime fiction and why he thinks the police could do with more empathy from the public

At the age of 42, some might ponder about settling into easy routine at work and outside. But, then, Additional Commissioner of Mumbai Police, North, Brijesh Singh, is not most people.

Addl. CP Brijesh Singh’s book, The Quantum Siege, is about a terror group Lashkar and the security threat they pose to India. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Addl. CP Brijesh Singh’s book, The Quantum Siege, is about a terror group Lashkar and the security threat they pose to India. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The launch of his debut novel, The Quantum Siege, reveals the literary side of the cop’s personality. “Being a police officer is my vocation, but writing, too, comes quite easily to me,” says Singh. His first experience at writing came in the form of a philosophical blog he began maintaining a few years ago. “Over time, my writer, filmmaker and journalist friends asked me to pen a story. In fact, S Hussain Zaidi (the author of Dongri to Dubai) has been instrumental in the making of this book,” says the top cop.

Plot by the page
The Quantum Siege’s plot revolves around Rudra Pratap Singh, the leader of the Anti-Terrorist Cell, who must race against time to save the nation, which is under imminent threat by a terror group, Lashkar.

The storyline does generate curiosity and is fertile for some adrenaline-packed pages. However, readers will not be oblivious to the fact that Singh has, indeed, stuck to the oft-attempted idea of Indian-heroes-beating-Pakistan-sponsored-terrorists. Why didn't he take his crime fiction beyond these run-of-the-mill plots?

“Writing crime fiction was never on my mind in the first place, because I thought what I write would be repetitive for the genre's readers. But Zaidi pointed out that what is routine to me will be intriguing for others. The police force is usually rather guarded, so an insider's account of cops, their life and work would make people sit up and take notice,” feels the officer. As for sticking to a predictable plot, Singh believes he can bring something fresh to the premise “just like each singer brings their own into age-old ragas.” He stuck to an impressive routine to finish the 243-pager in two months and wrote between 12 am to 3 am every day.

'A humane force'
When prompted about the popular notion that the police remain largely unapproachable, and whether the book deals with this facet of the people-police dynamic, Singh says he has tried to bring out a more humane side of policemen. “We have an unflattering job. If you had to spend a day with a police officer, you would sympathise with him/her. We are one of the most scrutinised agencies in the world, and with it comes a lot of pressure,” he adds.

He informs he is now working on a book on Indian history, which will release in 2015. He also hopes The Quantum Siege is adapted for the big screen because he admits to having written it with that possibility in mind. “For now, all I can say is that I am in talks with film producers,” he smiles.

The Quantum Siege is published by Penguin Books and Blue Salt. Price: Rs 250

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