From the young budding engineer, musician, and Model United Nations (MUN) delegate, Sushyanth Sridhar, comes a captivating crime novel that grabs your attention with its twists and turns, as well as its focus into the realm of psychosis.

The storyline revolves around Jonathan Rhodes (Jon) living in the year 2018 and his alter ego, Gin Oliver, the protagonist of the novel living in a period immediately after the Great War. It is a time when the only thing that soldiers who almost died protecting their country in World War I found worth living for was their country’s survival amidst political upheavals. Gin Oliver assembles a militia of veterans to curb a rising fascist movement, but things end up unraveling quite differently.

Sushyanth Sridhar, a young Indian expatriate born in Kuwait and a second-year mechanical engineering student at the National Institute of Technology, Warangal in the southern Indian state of Telangana, is penning his debut novel. Though the genre of the novel is a crime thriller, it also delves into psychosis and emotional traumas. As the young author puts it, “The story of this novel is a juxtaposition of the way people of different eras deal with mental stability”.

Speaking exclusively to The Times Kuwait about the core inspiration behind writing a psychological crime novel, Sushyanth said he was intrigued and at the same time appalled, by the way people easily fall prey to psychosis disorder and other mental illnesses.

“Unlike a vice such as alcohol, the psychosis disorder is beyond our grasp and it sticks on to our subconscious mind. A psychosis disorder destroys the mind’s ability to separate the real from the unreal.” Before writing his book Sushyanth spoke to many psychiatrists for gaining a better understanding of mental illnesses. He learned that psychosis if left untreated could be quite menacing to the individual as well as to those around them.

Through his book, Sushyanth attempts to start a dialog about the importance of mental fitness, “Our mind is an interesting machine. It is something like a perpetual motion machine; our thoughts propel further thoughts,” he says.
“This pandemic, in particular, has made our minds fatigued and longing for the return to normalcy. This prompted me during the lockdown to base my storyline on mental wellness,” he said, adding that it is important to maintain a proper balance in one’s mental health.

Sushyanth (19) is still a teenager and when he is not studying or writing he takes pleasure in playing music on his guitar or ‘mridangam’. An avid fan of English rock guitarist Eric Clapton, Sushyanth himself learned to play the guitar at a very young age. He has also been involved in co-curricular activities throughout his school and college days, and has authored several background guides and papers during MUN conferences.

Asked about how he manages to find time to write in the middle of his college studies and assignments, he said, “It is easier than you think. When you are passionate about an activity, you subconsciously begin to prioritize it and eventually begin to make time for it too.” Books and music, he said, help him to unwind at the end of each day.

But he also agrees that the engineering curriculum is very competitive and he cannot write books when he has assignments and tests due in college. “I often need to employ my maximum focus to secure a high grade and to be on par with my peers in college. I find it difficult to muster adequate attention and gather time to research for my book.”

Being a mechanical engineering student, he aspires to pursue a master’s degree at a reputed university upon completion of his under-graduation. “I have not set my eyes on a specific university or field in mechanical engineering yet, but I would love to see myself contributing to the automotive industry,” he says. He also wants to write more books and perhaps indulge deeper into music as well, and has already started work on his second novel, a historical thriller.

“I am a butterfly by nature,” he says, before elaborating. “A caterpillar creeps forward on earth hoping one day to grow wings and fly free. I have crawled my way through my childhood in bliss, with no hurry to ambulate to the next stage of my pupal life. And, much like an ambitious pupa comfortably hiding in the safety of its cocoon, I am living with my family in Kuwait and hope to spread my wings and fly away some day.”

Excited about his future, he feels that he has some way to go before transforming into the butterfly stage. “Very soon someday, I shall spread my wings and fly high,” he exclaims.

Rubab Hassan
Staff Writer

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