Jatin Kuberkar is an Architect by profession and a storyteller at heart. ‘The Treasure Syndicate’, a new take on the old trope of treasure hunt, is his third book. I caught up with Jatin to talk about the research that has gone into the book, the modern twist to the old idea of the thrill of sudden and uncountable wealth, his publishing journey with Vishwakarma Publications and much more. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
- The idea of the treasure hunt is an old one, and in modern times there have been many attempts to introduce a twist e.g. Alchemist by Coelho that also attempts to combine spiritualism with adventure. How does your book differ from such works?
As they say, there are no unheard stories, they differ in the way they are narrated! The Treasure Syndicate is a unique take on the traditional idea of a treasure hunt. The Treasure Syndicate was inspired by a conversation I once had with a cab driver. He was a part of a real treasure hunting group. The account of the driver had all the required material to make an interesting story. It is more than a ‘Treasure Hunt’, I’d say. The idea of the Syndicate, its formulation, and the story of people involved in it is much more dominant than the materialistic treasure part.
- How did you create the character of Acharya – the protagonist, considering he is quite a complex character and appears to have a prophet like insight?
Acharya Neelkanth Agnihotri is one of the main characters in the story. I wanted to create a non-stereotypical, believable character that the readers could connect with. Acharya is unpredictable; he has his personal life, a profession to depend upon, and he also carries a secret. I wanted to carve out an imperfect person depicting imperfect times of the Kali-Yug. I tried to describe him in many forms, but nothing pleased the god in me. Then one day, a scene from a movie gave me the perfect reference point. Acharya Agnihotri is truly Amitabh Bacchan so I decided to make him the star of my novel.
- The novel starts with a description of a flashback of a traumatic event, which plays over and over again, although it later appears to be a species of revelation. Why did you decide to combine the two, and not adopt another device like dreams?
I think flashbacks can be described effectively and they are closer to reality. On that note, there are also parts in my book that deal with a detailed study of dreams. The game-changer in my story happens to be a dream. Flashbacks and dreams both are effective and useful tools in a story like The Treasure Syndicate. It is for the author to choose which one he/she thinks can create the desired effect.
- The rules and regulations regarding the constitution and operation of treasure syndicate are quite detailed and precise. Did you research them, or were they inspired by any previous reading on the subject or simply your brainchild? How did you come by them?
A story like The Treasure Syndicate could not be written without proper research. No doubt that a creative mind can create anything; but it should connect with the audience. Otherwise, one begins to lose interest in the storyline. The only guideline I follow in such cases is to ‘connect a concept with a context’ – connect it to everyday life, interesting facts, anecdotes, a real incident, and so on and all these need through research. My story has stuff related to the moon, sociology, history, black- magic, mystic reading, etc. I had to do my homework to write about them. If you want to know more about my research for this book, I have documented it in the below blog post. https://jatinkuberkar.wordpress.com/2019/11/26/treasure-syndicate-research/
- What is on your current reading list?
I don’t read a lot of foreign authors. I think Indian English literature is rich enough for me for this life. Currently, I am reading “Visions of the Summer Past” written by my friend Avishek Gupta. As I type this answer, my bookshelf has about 30 unread books that I am planning to read soon. I am also researching for my next book and hence reading a lot of climate-related stuff on the internet.
- How was your experience of publishing with Vishwakarma Publications?
The experience was encouraging. Vishal Soni is a passionate publisher. The team at Vishwakarma has made me feel very comfortable.