Crime and punishment: A Sanskrit scholar explores his more adventurous side


Imagine a murder. The victim is a celebrity TV anchor. An investigative team has been set up. And to catch the killer who is always a step ahead they have set a trap and lie in wait like spiders.

That is a brief description of the crime novel I Lie in Wait written by 34-year-old Vivek Vijayan. Spread across 212 pages that deal in detail around 75 characters of erratic predispositions, interests, and intentions, the book is a thriller jammed with action and violence that could hook any reader for hours.


But what is even more interesting than the novel is its author Vivek Vijayan, a native of Kottakkal, and the story of how and why he shaped a crime fiction overcoming his physical limitations. Vijayan, who is a Sanskrit scholar and proficient in astrology, has been suffering from muscular atrophy, a genetic condition of degenerative muscles that confined him to a wheelchair since childhood but that hasn’t stopped him from publishing his first novel during the lockdown period.

Though a debutant, his choice of the genre too is intriguing– crime and so is the narrative, which is packed with violence. Of course, one reason behind such a book is his ardent passion for detective novels. But rather than exhibiting his admiration for Sherlock Holmes, Vijayan wanted to break the notions about him among his friends and relatives. In the dedication page of the novel he writes: Myself, for in me resides the universe’.

“Except a very few in my family, all others consider me a spiritual man who lives in the world of Vedas, Upanishads and astrology. I am a hardcore fan of detective novels and thriller movies. I spend hours engaging in discussions with like-minded fans. But my physical limitations have hidden that side of me from others. Writing a novel was a medium to express myself and I chose detective thrillers because no other genre can give me the opportunity to sketch my characters with utmost detailing of their traits. Through the characters I presented my own reflections and thoughts,” said Vijayan, who is the grandson of legendary Ayurveda physician Dr PK Warrier of Kottakkal.

“The roots of the novel can be traced back to a script I wrote some years ago. It was filmmaker Jayaraj who urged me to write a script. I wrote a female-centric crime story but there weren’t many takers. Finally, when one producer approached me in 2016, demonetization hit us, destroying our plans. Then I decided to convert the script into an English novel which could attract a wider audience,” Vijayan said.

Like any whodunnit, I Lie in Wait too deals with a murder, possible suspects, and an investigation that twists and turns the story’s events. Over these plots, the novel discusses at length the many problems faced by society or precisely, those faced by the less-privileged.

“The novel is about crime and vengeance. It tackles rape, narcotics and gold smuggling, nationalism and Naxalism. All these are detailed vividly and even the editors raised concerns about the graphic descriptions. But I strongly intend to openly portray things the way they happen in our society,” he said.

More than 100 copies I Lie in Wait have been sold in countries like the US, Canada, and UK. The lockdown has affected sales in India, but Vijayan hopes it will get better. “If everything goes right, I would like to make a movie based on the novel,” he said.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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