Author Answers by SUDIPTO DAS

An engineer, a writer, a musician and a ladies’ man to boot! A very talented author who is answering and sharing insights about his life, work and passion today is Sudipto Das; author of the the book THE EKKOS CLAN.

He has been very forthcoming and candid with his answers and I enjoyed this conversation immensely. If I may say so he has another fan. 
Over to Sudipto!

   1.   What has been your motivation for writing this book “”Ekkos Clan”? It spans so much history so how did you merge the different ideas, timelines and incidents to write this book?

To start with I wanted to write a book only on Bangladesh partition as I felt that part of Indian history was not well covered either in literature or films. You get a lot of stuff about the Punjab side of the partition. But a similarly horrific episode of our history in the eastern side, the partition of Bengal, has been almost forgotten by the creative people.

I grew up hearing stories of partition from various people in our family who went through the ordeal. So when I grew up I always had in mind to write about it. But when I started thinking about a book I realized it’s not easy to write partition sagas.

People like Khushwant Singh, Amrita Pritam Singh and others have written such prolific tales about it that it would be really a herculean task to write something in that genre and find a place. That’s when I wanted to have something more that than just partition. That was when the idea of using ancient Indian history came to mind, the inspiration is surely Dan Brown and Indiana Jones. So now I had the ancient Indian history and the partition of India.

Then I decided the novel to be set in the 90s, with the partition shown in flashback. So that created the three timelines, the 90s, the 40s partition and the ancient historical times. A little thought to sew these timelines eventually created the novel.


    2.   The cover of Ekkos Clan is a very different cover, quite abstract I feel. As the cover is worth a thousand words, how much of the cover did you choose or was it designed by someone else? 

I won’t say I was very happy with the cover, but that was the best I got after rejecting a large number of designs my publisher gave me to choose from. The idea was mine but there was a professional designer.
     3.   Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you. Be creative.

I’m very much into music. I’ve a band named Kohal and we do at least one big gig in a year. This year I ventured into composing music, doing ten songs for a Broadway styled musical named “Schweyk in the Second World War”.

I don’t smoke, except when I take pot, occasionally, as a ritual, especially when I meet my close friends. Most of the incidents used in “The Ekkos Clan” about pot are based on real life experiences.

Women – friends, relatives, acquaintances – play a very important role in my life. I’ve very high regards for all the women and girls in my life. Most of my inspiration comes from women and perhaps that’s why all the strong characters in my book are women. Interestingly, most of the characters are based on some real life persons I know.

     4.   What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I’m mostly watching movies, reading books, jamming with my friends… And by the way, I’ve a full time highly engaging professional life which keeps me busy for most of the day.
    5.   If you could cast the important characters or protagonists in the Bollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your main characters?

This is a very interesting question and I’ve discussed this a lot with many people. One person whom I would cast without any second thought is Waheeda Rehman for Kubha. She’s among the strongest women actors of our country. For the younger Kubha I would choose Tabu.

For Afsar, I would choose Nargis Fakhri, mainly for her Iranian looks. The younger Salman Khan (of Andaz Apna Apna) would fit well into Kratu’s role. But if I were to do it now, Shahid Kapoor would be good. Konkana Sen Sharma would be a good fit for Tista. For the Didi’s role, I think a slimmer Vidya Balan would be great.

    6.   How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names of the characters Kratu, Kubha, Afsar & Tista based on liking the way they sound or the meaning of the name? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

The names are very important. They carry a character all throughout the book. Kubha is the Sanskrit name of the river/city which is now known as Kabul. Why her name is after that of a river in Western Pakistan / Afghanistan would be clear towards the end of the novel.

Tista is again named after a river in North Bengal. It’s a very bubbly river, also infamous for devastating floods. Tits’ character goes well with Tista. Her sister is named after another river in North Bengal – Torsa.

I wanted a Persian sounding name for Kratu’s girlfriend and Afsar sounded very good. It was suggested by a very beautiful Iranian girl, Jamileh Mokhlesi, who was my colleague long time back.

For choosing the names, I generally go by anything which sounds good and seems relevant.
   7.   What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing book “Ekkos Clan” to life?

The main challenge was to make sure that everything is authentic. I get pissed off if I see writers goofing up with facts and figures. As I dealt with things like ancient Indian history and linguistics, none of which are my area of expertise, I had to put extra effort to ensure that I didn’t sound like a novice. But thanks to internet and Google, anything and everything is available at the fingertips.

Psychologically the challenge was to keep a balance between my professional work (I run a start-up with 2 other friends), my home (my wife and kid), my music and also lot of other social activities I’m involved in.

    8.   What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I would say it’s my passion in using history and make it relevant and interesting in today’s scenario. That’s all about The Ekkos Clan.

Thank you so much for the intriguing and insightful answers Sudipto. I look forward to more mysteries being unveiled by you and wish you many bestseller books ahead.  And of course a Rocking concert for KOHAL in between!

The Ekkos Clan 
Sudipto Das

The Blurb
 “The Ekkos Clan” is the story of Kratu’s search for the killers of his family, his own roots and the mystery behind his grandmother’s stories.

It’s the fascinating account of Kubha and the basketful of folklore she inherited from her ancestors. The eventful lives of Kubha and her family span a hundred years and encompass turbulent phases of Indian history. The family saga unfurls gradually, along with Kubha’s stories, through the three main characters – Kratu Sen, a grad student at Stanford, Kratu’s best friend Tista Dasgupta, and Afsar Fareedi, a linguistic palaeontologist.

Afsar hears about Kubha’s stories from Kratu in a casual conversation, but she figures that these stories are not meant to be mere bed time tales – they contain rich linguistic fossils and layers of histories.

In a bizarre incident Kratu miraculously survives an attempt on his life. His sister and uncle had not been so lucky. Were these murders acts of revenge, or a larger ideological conflict connected to Kubha’s stories which conceal perilous secrets that should be suppressed?

Afsar, Kratu and Tista travel across continents to unravel the mystery of Kubha’s roots and the origin of her stories.

At a different level, the novel subtly delves into the origin of one of the oldest civilizations of the world and the first book written by mankind.

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Meet the Author

Sudipto was born in Calcutta to a family which fled Bangladesh during the partition riots of 1947. He grew up listening horrid stories of the partition, something which he has used extensively in his debut novel The Ekkos Clan. He completed his engineering from IIT Kharagpur in 1996. He lives in Bangalore.

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Media Mentions 

“A promising debut in the growing realm of modern Indian fiction” – Jug Suraiya 

“An Indian thriller inspired by Dan Brown & Harrison Ford!… fast-paced thriller, replete with murder and miraculous escapes” – Telegraph 

“If you are a history buff and a thriller aficionado, then [it] might just be the book for you” – The Hindu 

“A tale of the Indian civilization and culture… takes you on a roller coaster ride” – The New Indian Express 

“An interesting read for an afternoon… One feisty woman’s partition story” – Bangalore Mirror 

“Should be read for its sheer aspiration and the intelligent handling of historical material” – The Sunday Guardian 

“Is essentially a mystery novel, but is grounded in a substantial base of research and exploration into our past” –

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