Interview With P Satyadeep, Author of The Allegorical Expedition

emerging author of a different league…
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P Satyadeep is an author who has written the novel The Allegorical Expedition. Unlike all others in the field of writing, P Satyadeep does not follow the leak. He has developed his own narrative style and a mood of writing. His novel presents special case scenario which is peculiar in Indian contemporary writing. He is also an HR professional with a reputed company. He originally belongs of Odisha.

Alok Mishra: Satyadeep, my first question to you is about your selection of plot. How exactly you thought of writing this book The Allegorical Expedition?

P Satyadeep: The idea of this book evolved from a quote that I happened to come across accidentally – “Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes in the middle of nowhere you find yourself.” – as I spent more and more time ruminating about it, my resolve to create a character who sets out on a life-changing trip dug its roots deep in the recesses of my mind and that is how this book came into existence.

Alok Mishra: You have done a job that authors rarely do these days. No ‘detailed romance,’ no spice and nothing sensational. An entirely different kind of theme to revisit the historical and mythological elements. What’s your take on that?

P Satyadeep: My initial attempts of writing a novel were in the romantic genre, but after writing a little over 35 – 40 pages, I had this feeling as if I was running in the dark with neither a sense of direction nor a clear destination. That is how I understood the concept of a theme. That made me take a step back and put some thought into what I really wanted to convey through my book. The protagonist needed a purpose, winning over the love of another person is a worthy purpose to have, to become successful in life and to earn name and fame are yet another, but my mind kept asking if there was more to life. That is how I realized that the craving had to be for something further, something beyond the reach of our conditioned mind.

The historical and mythological elements are something that I have been passionate about all my life. I have always enjoyed those stories and I firmly believe that the stories we grow up listening and reading have a great influence in shaping our personality and character.

Alok Mishra: Going through the book, I often thought that Satyajeet, the SJ of the novel, becomes the mouthpiece of the author – you. Now the question is, where did you get such a protagonist? Is SJ voicing your thoughts?

P Satyadeep: I have never been able to fathom the obsession of having a protagonist who is nothing less than a demi-god. I have always wanted my protagonist to have a grey side. I wished him to be someone who has no qualms to make mistakes and live life on his own terms. To have normal feelings, to be confused, to be afraid of failure and commitment, to be someone who finds himself part of the conundrum called life always on the lookout for a quick exit. He had to be someone who is not afraid to burn his bridges before he realizes the perils of a wildfire. Experience is the best teacher that anyone can have, why say no to it? Most importantly, he had to be someone who is not too rigid to hold on to the beliefs passed on to him, but be open minded to test the waters himself, and take a dip, before blindly accepting the quantum of information flying in his direction.

I have put a lot of thought in creating each of the characters in the story, everyone is quite distinct in what they bring to the story and each of them have an important role to play as SJ evolves into Satyajit (The one who attains victory over Truth). But, if I have to pick one character that is close to my heart, it definitely has to be SJ.

Alok Mishra: If readers ask you, what makes The Allegorical Expedition a must read, what will be your reply to that question, Satyadeep?

P Satyadeep: It is the story of a person who is in a battle with himself and the demons within – that of ‘self-doubt’, ‘fear of failure’ and other limiting beliefs that he develops over a period of time, and how he overcomes these obstacles to fulfil his heart felt desire, and realize his dream. It is a story that I am sure every reader can relate to.

It is also the story of a character who in his determination to succeed at any cost goes all guns blazing and in the process loses everything and everyone closest to him, and yet is unwavering in his single-pointed focus towards achieving his goal.

Most importantly, it is an attempt to offer a different perspective, one that needs to be explored and reflected upon – the lessons that have been passed on to us, generations after generations in this glorious land of Bhaarath, in the form of stories and couplets.

Alok Mishra: What I think as a reader is that the expedition renders itself into a kind of soul searching in the book. As you are an HR professional with a reputed company, do you think that knowing different kind of people has given you an understanding of the plights of people in this worldly life? I would like if you could explain this to me.

P Satyadeep: As we go about living our lives we get so engrossed and lost in our own world within our cubicles that we tend to forget that there is also a world beyond the walls of the cubicle, all we need to do is just raise our head and look out. That is something that I have come across in most of my conversation with people. We tend to forget the little things that give us happiness. In our tiring and relentless pursuit of greatness, we tend to ignore and forget that our true nature demands and needs just a tiny little expression of happiness. This is a lesson that I have learnt in my capacities as an HR professional

Alok Mishra: Something which really felt good was reading the descriptions of the landscapes described by you in the book. Assighat, views of Ganges, Devikulam and so on… what brought you so close to this textual landscape of great and unfortunately ‘ignored-in-fiction’ places?

P Satyadeep: I hail from the city of Bhubaneshwar – the city of temples. I remember accompanying my father on morning walks and every day we would walk down to a different temple and the best part about these walks were the history lessons my father would give me about the construction, the different symbols and the legends about how the temple came into existence. He would put in a lot of effort to make us realize about the greatness of that place and most importantly, make it a point to show us intricate details that any normal visitor or tourist would miss out. This has had a huge influence on me, so much so that, even today if I visit a place I make it a point to do my research about that place, its history, background and all the legends surrounding it. That has helped me immensely in bringing out those details so vividly.

Alok Mishra: I am really curious to know about the character of Pandit ji. From where you got that fictionally real character Satyajeet? I hope there must be a real-life model that inspired that character. What’s the real deal? Please tell.

P Satyadeep: Let me put it this way, each of us have an SJ and a Panditji within us. If SJ is the voice of reason, Panditji is the voice of the soul. The voice, which we tend to ignore for most part of our lives; yet, cannot deny its existence. Panditji is the sounding board we yearn for, someone who would listen to us without any pre-conceived judgements and direct our thoughts and actions in the right direction. That’s the real deal. J

Alok Mishra: Now that you are in the writing industry, I would like to know your view on the contemporary Indian writing. Do you think there is a ‘certain line’ dividing the literature into two clear divides – writing and writing for quick fix to, if I may say, fame and money. And where do you put yourself?

P Satyadeep: Creation in itself is a soul stirring and fascinating process, and the objective of any creative process is to spread and share that gratifying bliss and overflowing happiness with the multitude of people around, and give them a reason to smile and enjoy the fruits of one’s labour. Fame and money is a mere offshoot of this entire process, and I personally don’t believe that any creative work is done with the sole objective of making money.

Alok Mishra: And what are your plans after this one – The Allegorical Expedition being done? Any book coming very soon? You have finished the book but left the end open ended which is quite deliberate and hints at a sequel. Is it so?

P Satyadeep: A sequel is very much on the cards. In fact, ‘The Allegorical Expedition’ is more like an opening act to the finale that I have in mind. I am just waiting to get started and put my thoughts on paper.

Alok Mishra: At the end, many thanks for your time and answering the questions Satyadeep. I wish you all the best for your book and also the coming ones!

P Satyadeep: Thank you so much, Alok Mishra and the team Ashvamegh! You guys are doing a fabulous job providing the right platform and opportunity to budding authors to showcase our work and reach out to a wider audience. It has been a pleasure being associated with the Ashvamegh team.