Aptly titled ‘The Forbidden Quest of Mysore,’ the book is a celebration of love, set against the backdrop of the rich heritage of Karnataka. Author Puneeth J.H. says if Dan Brown or Sidney Sheldon could open a window to Europe with their work, he doesn't see why he shouldn’t do the same for Karnataka. He spoke to Aksheev Thakur about his upcoming books and how as a computer programmer he still finds the time to write. Excerpts:
My job as a researcher- cum -programmer has never been come in the way of my other interests. In fact, my 8 to 5 job has helped me be a writer
Q:What is the inspiration behind The Forbidden Quest of Mysore?
A: Stories inspire me : the stories which I heard as a little boy from my mother, the stories shared by my friends when I was an adolescent, the stories which I saw on television and even the stories that came to me in my dream. They have all played their part in making "The Forbidden Quest of Mysore," what it is today. I often feel that people travel the world looking for inspiration, but all we have to do is look around us or maybe sometimes look within for it.
Q: You have created a story of romance and history in the backdrop of the Vijayanagara empire. Could you tell us more?
A: As you have noticed, the book is a blend of a historical thriller and a love story. When we read the works of Dan Brown or Sidney Sheldon, we see the way they celebrate the rich heritage of Europe. For example, after reading “The Bloodline,” I travelled to Kraków to see the struggle of humankind. The antiquity of Europe has been written about and read this way. So I feel are we any less? Don’t we have a wonderful heritage too? If Dan Brown can celebrate the history and legacy of Europe, why can’t Puneeth J H celebrate the heritage of Mysuru? The book is also a love story. Every couple who fights social prejudices to be together is always bothered by the differences of religion, caste, language, money and social stigma. If this book implants the idea of liberal love, the purpose will have been served.
Q: But love stories of couples from different castes have been written about before. What sets your book apart?
A: What makes "The Forbidden Quest of Mysore," different is the way it is written and the intention behind it. I have hidden the vast heritage of Mysore behind a delightful love story to encourage young Indians to start reading, and eventually also relish our heritage. Also, my intentions are genuine. We as influencers have a social responsibility. Our every word is read, observed or maybe even followed. So we need to influence people with positive ideas. This is one such attempt.
Q: Why take the Vijayanagara empire as the backdrop?
A : The book required me to break down the science behind the "weapon of mass destruction" and encode it in architecture, art, literature and music. To do that, the first city that came to my mind was the heritage city of Mysuru. And as the Mysore province was part of the Vijayanagara kingdom, I have used the Vijayanagara empire as the backdrop. In the book, I have arrayed a set the real events, real people and their actual actions in the order of their occurrence from 1500 AD to 2017. Later, I crafted the story around these events. I was surprised as these real events took place in reality just the way the book needed them to! For example, the accidental fire in the Mysore Palace, King Raja Wodeyar's orders to measure the worth of the necklace of goddess Chamundeshwari, the Mughal invasions, the destruction of the Vijayanagara empire, and so on, all fell in the exact timeline required by the book.
Q: You stay in Germany and write codes in C++. How did you develop an interest in writing books?
A: I remember how in school I used to write poetry and love letters to help my friends! Back then I never thought it was a gift. But later when I went to pre-university, a dear friend shared her heart-touching story. Maybe, her tears provoked me and all I wanted to be was a voice for all those silent struggling hearts, and hence “Love, lust and loyalty in a girl’s life” was born. Later came the “The Forbidden Quest of Mysore” and now two more books are in the pipeline : “What it means to be a woman in India” and “Offshore wedding; Onsite honeymoon.” My job as a researcher- cum -programmer has never been come in the way of my other interests. In fact, my 8 to 5 job has helped me be a writer. I enjoy working as much as I enjoy writing....