Delving into the Human Psyche

19 Apr 2021


Vikrant Khanna is a ship captain and the bestselling author of Secretly Yours and The Girl Who Knew Too Much. He has more than a decade of sailing experience rising to the rank of Master. He lives and works in Singapore.  

In this interview with Swetha Amit, he talks about the idea behind his latest book, love and its complexities and fear. 

How and when did the idea to pen ‘The girl who disappeared’ come about?  

The idea first came to me when I was transiting the Pacific Ocean on a ship two years back. As always, I don’t try too hard to crystallize an idea and let it take its own shape. But I’m always very clear about the central characters and let them guide me through their story. Once the basic foundation is ready, I pick up a pen and begin writing.

The characters in the book are an interesting lot. Where did you draw inspiration from while giving shape to personaliies?  

Most of them are people around me. I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by an eclectic bunch of people both in my personal and work life. I like to observe people closely and pick up their interesting traits, and more often than not, the craziest ones will find a place in my book.

You have talked about love and its complexities. So, what is your take on love? 

I think love is a very simple and a fundamental emotion. We complicate it by expecting too much from it. I also feel, and I say this in the book, that nothing is more important than love and family, and we can all save ourselves from a lot of misery by realizing this sooner than later.

As a follow up to the question, there is a line in your book which states that when you love, the world is a better place. Yet a character in your book does crazy things in the name of love. What is your opinion on this dichotomy of love?  

Different people, different actions, but all the characters in the book are driven by love. There is no doubt there are people who take it too far and Avni is one of them. I do not approve of her actions, and as one character says in the book, “if you really love someone, you must let them go.”

Fear is another theme explored in your book. What according to you constitutes fear?  

I think that’s a very personal question and you’d get hundred different answers if you asked hundred people. For me, I’d be fearful if I’ve done something terrible that my conscience keeps gnawing at me.

You have mentioned about how lonely people are dangerous people.  Considering that a writers’ life is a lonely one, how do you think loneliness can be dealt with? 

If you are passionate about something, anything, I don’t think you can ever be lonely. Every one of us should have a burning desire for something that keeps our heart warm and our mind occupied. I take great pleasure in writing and during my sailing days, I barely suffered from home sickness unlike the rest of the crew members, who’d want to disembark from the ship at the first opportunity.

There is also a supernatural element in your book. This is also a theme that has been explored by many authors. Have you personally had any supernatural experience? 

Yes, somewhat. I experienced this during my sailing days. A few years back, a crew member died on a ship and we were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. For more than a week, we had to keep his body in the ship’s freezer which was on the first deck. I was a second officer and I had to keep midnight watches and when I’d return to my cabin alone at night, I can swear on more than one occasion, I have heard him calling my name. I’d run back to my cabin, lock the door, and get through the night with the lights turned on.

Lastly any more books in the pipeline? 

No rush. I’m waiting for an idea that strikes the right chord and gets me enthusiastic enough for me to spend few months with it.

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