Soumitra Singh: From finance to fiction

DC | SWATHI CHATRAPATHY
Published Jul 9, 2014, 7:14 am IST
Updated Mar 31, 2019, 8:27 pm IST
Soumitra Singh’s debut novel is a geo-political thriller that explores terrorism financing through the story of two boys
Author Soumitra Singh (Photo: DC)
 Author Soumitra Singh (Photo: DC)

Hyderabad: When you have a strong urge to write, but your subject of expertise revolves around finance and economics, you’re sure to have a tough time. But author Soumitra Singh found a simple, effective way to go about it. “All my colleagues wrote research papers. I wrote them for a while, but they were so technical and dry. I wanted to bring the subject to lay people, using simple language. So, I wrote The Child Of Misfortune,” says the 29-year-old author, speaking from his Mumbai residence, where he’s living with his family after 10 years!

A geopolitical thriller, his work of fiction explores terrorism financing through the story of two boys, Amar and Jonah, who play chess as kids. “As they grow up, their friendship is ripped apart by a series of events. Later, they find themselves challenging each other again, but the backdrop has completely changed, in terms of politics, culture and money,” says Soumitra about his debut novel.

 

Right from a lengthy chapter on Mumbai, to a large chunk of the finance world in London, and a deep exploration of the Kashmir valley,  Soumitra has woven the disconnected worlds together into the spine of one book. Having grown up in 15 cities in India, and by going abroad to study and work in different countries, he has had a taste of many cultures and he has built on that solid foundation. “My work has been in the fields of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing. I have written about how the smallest of movements in the West affect the whole world, but the language is simple,” assures the author.

For this NIT Jaipur and IIM Calcutta graduate, the idea of writing a novel sprouted back in 2010, lingered around in the form of thoughts and stories, and came to life on paper through 10 months in 2013. “Halfway through my MBA, I realised I wanted to write. I did write a 90,000 word novel, called Muddy Lotus back then. It was about a schoolboy and his troubles and some spirituality, but it was incredibly boring,” he laughs. “So I finished MBA, worked for a year so I could finance my studies, and did a Masters in creative writing in the UK,” he says. For a year, all he did was write, read and write some more. “We used to have sessions where we scrutinised other students’ works, at microscopic levels. It was brutal, because every word was read and questioned,” he recollects. Most reviews rate his book as a fantastic read, making it clear that a lot of research has gone into it. “I have written about the army’s movements in Kashmir, and for that, every tiny sentence required an incredible amount of research,” he says.

With his book as an excuse, Soumitra  travelled far and wide, till travelling  became his favourite hobby. “I’ve travelled across Europe, as I was an exchange student in Italy and I’ve explored the West Coast of the US, and have been all over India,” he says, hoping to go to Andaman soon. The art lover and swimmer is, for now, a full-time author, managing a blog for his friend’s company, but there’s more to come from this brainy finance guru.

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