BY Vani IN Book Reviews

“Do You Have a Quantum Twin?” Ashwin Sanghi’s Latest Thriller Asks [Quint]

A seemingly innocuous job interview with a highly discreet organisation lands a young, quantum physicist in trouble when he is abducted from a busy marketplace in Delhi and assigned to a dangerous mission by a group of intelligence operatives. Away from the hubbub of his daily life, Vijay Sundaram soon finds himself working for a research outfit in Uttarakhand and stumbling upon secrets that promise to accelerate the downward spiral of mankind sooner than expected. Pitting his protagonist against dark forces that are bent on destroying the world, Ashwin Sanghi once again delivers a high-octane thriller, titled, Keepers of the Kalachakra that promises to keep his readers gripped to the book until the very end.

While most of his books in the Bharat series combine theology, politics, mythology, history, business, science and philosophy, Keepers of the Kalachakra (Sanghi’s fifth book in the series) is where philosophy meets sci-fi. Adding to the overall intrigue and a sense of amazement is the way he weaves a plot around religious fundamentalism and laws of Physics – the creative nudge for it came to him in a dream, ‘or a nightmare, to be more specific,’ he tells me in an email.

‘I awoke one morning feeling exhausted. The question that popped into my head was this: could my dreams be an alternative universe, my true reality? Was it possible that my daily life was actually someone else’s dream?’

Now before you rack your brains trying to understand Sanghi’s dream or skim through tomes to find answers to his questions, let me tell you that he has addressed this topic in quite a lot of detail in the book – alongside many other themes, of course. And that is perhaps the reason why Keepers of the Kalachakra is much more densely packed, complex and intense than all his previous novels, introducing readers to such esoteric concepts as space-time continuum, Akashic Records, Golden Ratio, Schumann Resonance and quantum twins. That last one especially intrigued me enough to ask him if he believed we all had a quantum twin – someone who was not connected to us by birth but quite capable of intimately affecting us, so much so that whatever happened to him also happened to us.

‘Yes,’ he says, and ventures to explain it thus: ‘Our sun is just one star among the two hundred to four hundred billion stars in our galaxy – the Milky Way. The universe consists of two trillion galaxies like the Milky Way. If we were to represent the entire universe as Earth, then Earth itself would proportionally be the size of a billionth of a pinhead! So the probability of not having a quantum twin in the universe is extremely low!’ This then opens up a world of possibilities for those who are interested. To quote the author from the book:

(What if)…a Chinese factory worker is also an American nightclub singer…a primary schoolteacher in India is a politician in Westminster…In effect, it is possible that every human being on earth shares consciousness with someone else – his or her quantum twin…As with entangled quantum particles, if you change the quantum characteristic of one, you will change the characteristic of the other. Kill one and the other will also die. In fact, killing the quantum twin is the cleanest way to kill high-powered leaders – who are always surrounded by several layers of high security – without leaving the slightest trace!

And while you are still thinking about quantum twins and how to identify yours, Sanghi has found an ingenious way to do so, using a perfect combination of mantra, yantra and tantra. Quite a lot of research that might have involved, one might say, and the author doesn’t disagree. ‘Like most books in the Bharat series, this book also took around two years. The first year was spent on reading because I needed to understand the basics of quantum theory, as also the Kalachakra initiation process. Around two months were spent on developing the plot and another six months to actually write the novel. The remaining four months were spent on rewrites, edits and fact checks.’

Considering as a parallel plot line running in the book has to do with religious (read: Islamic) fundamentalism, and how liberals all over the world are on the verge of annihilation, paving the way for conservatives, I ask him if he feared a controversy to arise around the book, considering as how religion is such an itchy topic these days. ‘Not at all,’ he answers. ‘The position that I take in respect of the failings of several religions – Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam – are simply to show that philosophy trumps religion because philosophy is about questions that may never be answered while religion is about answers that may never be questioned.’

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