Dr. Vishal Kumar works as a horticulturist in a reputed company, and has been awarded PhD in Horticulture Science by CCS University Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. He belongs to a middle class farmer family and believes in simple living and high thinking. He is also fond of writing, and has written many compositions, which includes novels, short stories, comics, poems, ghazals, and free verses in several genres. Operation Scan, which is a novel full of love, humour, patriotism, suspense and adventure, is his first published book. The book is available both in English and Hindi.
I chat with the author about his book Operation Scan, his inspiration for writing the novel, book recommendations, and much more.
Hello, Dr. Vishal! Tell us a bit about yourself!
Since my childhood, I love flowers and to write, so I have studied Horticulture Science and have got a doctorate degree in Floriculture. In the same period, I continued to write to my heart's delight. Nowadays, I am a horticulturist in a reputed company. I am also the author of the novel Operation Scan. I have been writing since 20 years, and have written novels, short stories, comics, poems, songs, ghazals, free verses, etc., but it was the book Operation Scan that gave me a chance to feel that I have a known writer within me. I am well aware that I am an introverted personality, but I can say that I feel proud on authoring this novel.
If you could only describe your book Operation Scan in one sentence, what would it be?
This is a novel full of love, humour, patriotism and thrill.
Now tell us a little more about the book! What can readers expect?
It is a fictional story and is available in both Hindi and English languages. The story includes themes of innocent love, sacrifice, duty, devotion, patriotism and adventure. While reading this book, readers will feel that this story belongs to characters that they have known, and they will enjoy reading the book.
The narrative shows how an innocent love story, born amidst college fun, takes a new path by understanding social and family responsibilities; how innocent happy lives are destroyed by terrorism; how the police are forced to rub their noses in front of the rich and politicians; how the politics of the chair understands different religions as nothing more than a vote bank; and how even in an unusual environment, a common man inspires people of all religions of the country to live in harmony with each other.
What inspired you to write this novel?
Perhaps I am very sensitive to the events happening around me. I take cognisance of both bad events and good events. Maybe it is either a gift from God or due to the upbringing of my parents. When a leader or officer sells his conscience to get money, I get very angry. I know that human nature is different but every human should have at least patriotism and humanity. I get very angry when a country’s the government is not able to stop any religious riots or when the leaders make people of different religions enemies of each other to increase their vote bank.
Some corrupt leaders of our country, some corrupt officers of our police, and certain types of people, who do not miss playing with the security of the country to fulfil their personal purpose, all these people are responsible for the birth of Operation Scan.
Can you tell us your creative process behind the characterizations of Vihaan and Sameera?
Vihaan and Sameera have three common things, they love each other, both are Indians and both are patriots. But there are many differences in their lives such as that of religion, region, culture, goals of life, and social and family responsibilities. Both struggle in their lives to achieve their goals. Both can risk their lives for each other. But realizing their responsibilities, they work against each other and for this they risk their lives. In short, they are true lovers, but are forced to act like strong enemies against each other for social and patriotic reasons.
Is there a scene, element, or character you really enjoyed creating and writing?
The whole story is close to my heart but one scene that is very special for me is this (reproduced in original from the book)–
“Vihaan follows Sameera. Sameera stops at seeing Vihaan and says - Didn’t you have to go to the city station?
Vihaan - Yes, no...That is what I was saying. I mean, have you come here for some work?
Then, her younger sister Ameena who was with Sameera understands the situation and tells Sameera - I am going to look for the book at the bookstore. Please come there after you talk.
Sameera - Yes...I’ll come.
Vihaan - Did you come here to get a book?
Sameera - Yes...Some books have to be taken. You were saying something?
Vihaan's face turns red. There is so much nervousness about what to say and what not to say…He could not understand anything.
Sameera probably understood something. She says - Many moments come in life. Some we like and some we do not, but we have to decide and move ahead with time. We cannot wait. I read what you wrote on the wrapper. I understand your feelings and also respect them, but I have to go back to Kashmir and you have to stay here. We are good well-wishers of each other. You should not be sad thinking about what cannot happen. Instead, you should be proud, thinking about what we have”.
In this story, a character named Jatin Malik is adopted from real life to create humour in the story. Jatin Malik is a close friend of mine in real life and in fact I have had a lot of fun while writing this character.
What do you hope readers will take away from reading Operation Scan?
The story includes life struggles, ambitions, social duties and the challenges of life of the protagonists. The story encompasses all shades of life in the form of love, humour, suspense, patriotism and adventure; and shows how self-respect and patriotism inspire to continue the fight with anti-social elements. Also, this story shows the true and immortal definition of love from young age to old age. In this story, the problems of the society around us such as corruption, terrorism, religious riots, bad events sponsored by politicians, etc., have been raised and their solutions are also shown. While reading the story, readers will feel the importance of culture and civilization of our country. Therefore, this novel will prove to be very entertaining and satisfying for readers who are fond of reading love, humour and adventure.
How have you been coping with the current pandemic and what will be the new normal for you post it?
Nowadays, I am very close to my books. Most of the times, I am at home due to the Covid pandemic. Getting out of the house is limited for general tasks and picnics. But this has had another benefit for me and my family, as we have become more familiar with digital technology. It is necessary to compete with the modern world to improve ourselves, and nowadays this is not possible without knowing digital technology. There is no doubt that the Coronavirus will go away after some time, but I think it will give a new way for Indians to develop a new digital culture and would prove to be a path for India to achieve new and great heights.
What are you reading currently? Do you have any book recommendations for our readers?
Nowadays I am reading the book A Poem a Day by Gulzar. This is great collections of 365 poems, selected and translated by the great writer Gulzar from different languages. This book presents human emotions poetically of human beings, and it is truly a great poetry book.
The book ‘Operation Scan’ is available online and at your nearest bookstore.