Covid-19 taught us the real value of many essential things that, from our privileged point of view, we have always taken for granted. For the first time in our lives, we had to actively engage our energies in ensuring the safety, security, and wellbeing of our loved ones. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our doctors and healthcare staff, who fought relentlessly to keep us from harm’s way, today many of us have emerged with a better understanding of our world and what we need to survive in it.
One such human, who was unrelenting in his pursuit of keeping his patients safe and helping Indians battle the pandemic, is Dr. Sohil Makwana. Regular social media users might recall the viral image of a doctor sharing his version of the ‘life inside the PPE suit’. The viral image that was covered by media channels all over the country contrasted a doctor’s pic inside the PPE suit and one outside it, the latter completely drenched in sweat after a day-long work.
Today, it is our pleasure that the very same doctor, Dr. Sohil Makwana is here on our platform to talk about his latest book, Murdrum. A book, that has been hailed as an ‘unputdownable’, and ‘mind-boggling forensic thriller’.
Dr. Sohil Makwana (MBBS, MD) is as engaged in creative pursuits as he is in scientific ones. He is a man who dons many hats. When not spending time with his patients, he relishes his role as a fashion photographer, humorist, assistant director, screenwriter, fitness expert, and most recently a novelist.
He believes in the pursuit of knowledge and knows in his heart that one can never stop learning. His knowledge and expertise in the field of medicine, and his curiosity in world affairs enable him to craft fast-paced thrillers that reflect both his profession and passion. Today, we at bookGeeks got a lucky chance to have a tete-e-tete with the author. Here’s what he has to say about his love for writing, his profession, and his debut book, Murdrum.
|Tell us something about yourself. Who is Dr. Sohil as a person? What are his likes and dislikes?|
|As a person, I believe I’m a good human being with a good heart. Secondly, I’m highly focused and ambitious. I keep raising my bars every two years by setting new goals. I’m determined, disciplined, hardworking, honest, and highly optimistic. I’m remarkably straightforward. I keep my feet on the ground. Additionally, I’m a fitness freak and a stylish doctor. I like learning and exploring new things. However, I dislike idleness and deceivers.|
|What does a regular day look like for you? Take us through your schedule.|
|A day starts with a healthy breakfast followed by duty hours. I try to follow a five-course meal plan. Usually, I get free by 6 PM. And, I hit the gym after resting for a few minutes. Earlier, I used to hit the gym for 2 hours, but after the Covid outbreak, I workout for an hour at my place. After a shower and a healthy dinner, I start my laptop. I never watch TV. I keep writing or reading or watching something on my laptop till 12 or 1 AM.|
|Tell us about your debut book Murdrum: The Probe Begins. What can the reader expect from it?|
|Murdrum: The Probe Begins with portraying the life of Komal Rathod, an orphan, and a forensic expert who suffers from 'congenital insensitivity of pain.' Her only purpose in life is to become a crime scene investigator in the CBI. However, after consistent failure, she gets an opportunity to work in CBI as an intern. There, she is assigned the task of merely data collection. Nevertheless, Komal strives to convince her egoistic officers about the presence of a wicked criminal in Mumbai. Her only aim is to grab the sinister serial killer who leaves no clues behind. But, intelligent and vigilant forensic expert, Komal, leaves no stone unturned and digs her way to uncover the unknown identity of the wise and heartless serial killer. However, the table turns, and the cat and mouse game begins. Forget the DNA, forget the fingerprints, even the murder weapon; Komal utilizes several high-tech incredible forensic investigations. But, the tech-savvy killer knows his job too well.
So, it’s an adrenalin rush high-tech forensic crime thriller. My content is so fresh that I can give a money-back guarantee to readers that they would have never read or seen a story or plot related to Murdrum in their lives.
|Did you do any specific research during the writing phase, or you drew inspiration from your experience and expertise in the field of medicine?|
|I’m a chronic writer. I have been writing for the last five years, and have developed competence in the craft of storytelling in these five years. I keep noting down bizarre events. I have a huge collection of notes summarising plots, characters, and climaxes. Therefore, research is part of my daily life. Being a doctor, I have the additional advantage of adding the medicine angle to my literature which other authors can’t. I just club the art of the science and the science of the art.|
|Take us through your Covid warrior experience. What has been your most important learning from that phase?|
|It was horrible. We were fighting with something unseen and unknown. But, we overcame rapidly and acclimatized ourselves to new norms without delay. I learned from the pandemic that we humans were fragile by ourselves, our strength lied in being part of a community. And, in this pandemic, I started writing the novel. Earlier, I was into screenwriting as it takes less effort, lol. And that’s how this pandemic gave a new author to India. There is no rainbow without rain.|
|How did it feel when your completely-drenched-in-sweat picture went viral? Did you ever expect it to blow up so much?|
|Well, it was absolutely unexpected. The picture went viral like a wildfire, and that tweet is still being retweeted every day. People all over the world correlated their frontline workers with that picture. I believe that the photograph became viral because the sentiments, circumstances, expectations of people were attached to that photograph. I felt good but it was not the time of celebration as many people lost their lives during the period.|
|Are you a spontaneous writer or a disciplined one?|
|I’m a technical person. I was poor in languages. I was good at math. That’s why you’ll find logic and hidden mathematics in my plots. I had never thought in my life that I would become a writer one day. But my hunger for storytelling drove me to novel writing. So, of course, I have trained myself. Doesn't that make me a disciplined writer?|
|When were you first bitten by the writer’s bug? How long before you took that crucial first step?|
|After completing my MD, I started photography, and in the short span of two years, I had become a fashion photographer who had been featured twice in Femina. After learning photography, as I said earlier, I raised the bars and shifted my goals. I thought to try in film direction as, being a photographer, I was aware of the visual medium. But, I didn’t want to leave my profession of medicine. In filmmaking, you have to work as a full-time assistant director to learn the craft by staying on the sets. A writer can write a film by staying anywhere, and still, he can learn filmmaking by staying on the sets without working as an assistant director. Therefore, as an intermediate step of filmmaking, I thought to give a try to writing, and boom! I extremely enjoyed screenwriting. In just three years I had penned down scripts of almost twelve films. In the pandemic outbreak, when the film shootings were on halt, I penned down Murdrum as I knew the real-life serial killer genre, and the plot was extremely intriguing. I knew it was unbeatable.|
|You are a man who dons many hats. As if being a doctor isn’t challenging enough, you also do screenwriting, fashion photography, fitness, directing, etc. What is your secret? Do you have a time-turner or a magic potion at your disposal?|
|I guess I have answered this question. I have learned all things gradually by setting goals, one after another. Persistence is the key. I never quit.
Direction is the next step. Before the Covid outbreak, I have worked as an assistant director in a Marathi film ‘Bali.’ It is a hospital-based horror film. They wanted a doctor on the set who was interested in writing, too. I grabbed the opportunity and got the experience of filmmaking as well. I have knowledge of the visual medium and I know storytelling. I guess, one day, I’ll be a director too.
If we talk about fitness then I never consider fitness as a passion. Fitness is a lifestyle. Like, we eat or sleep. Everyone should work out and take a healthy diet.
|When it comes to thrillers, which is your favorite book?|
|The Shining by Stephen King.|
|One Indian or international author you would love to co-author a book with?|
|None, I enjoy writing solo. And, I have the brain of two writers, lol.|
|One thing that you cannot stay without.|
|My MacBook Pro.|
|A quote that never fails to inspire you.|
|“Winner is the one who never quits.”|
|What would you do if you had all the money and time in the world?|
|Charity. And for some time, I would travel all over the world.|
|Any new projects that you are currently working on?|
|I have scripts for twelve films. I may convert any of them into a novel. So, yes I will keep publishing novels every six months until I start directing a film.|