Does the mind emerge from matter? Does an absolute reality exist, independent of any conscious individual? If not, what makes the reality experienced by one individual slightly different from that experienced by the others?
These are the questions that Prof. Debanjan Bhowmik looks to answer in his newly published book: Chronicles on Consciousness (A Journey of Self-Discovery). Prof. Bhowmik is currently an assistant professor in the department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Delhi. His research focuses on the physics of emerging nano-electronic devices and the applications of those devices in the domain of artificial intelligence. Physical Electronics (ELL 211) and Digital Hardware Design (ELL 318) are the two undergraduate courses he often teaches. He also maintains social-media presence through his posts about the world of cricket and that of pro-wrestling. Chronicles on Consciousness is his debut novel; it is based on his own experiences during the period of his doctoral research in California and the insights about the mind and consciousness that he has gained from them.
Here’s the review, prepared by BSP, of his newly published novel:
The book can be purchased here: https://www.amazon.in/Chronicles.../dp/1638325782/
The novel “Chronicles on Consciousness” is a riveting tale about Ary, a young Indian student, as he carries out doctoral research abroad and goes through a journey of self-discovery in the process. It combines elements of general fiction with that of popular science and philosophy, and thereby provides for an excellent read if the reader loves any of these genres. Thus, anybody with an inquisitive mind, who wants to gain more perspectives about life, will enjoy this book.
Among such inquisitive minds, we feel that young students like us, studying science and engineering, will be particularly able to relate to the protagonist in the book: Ary. Just like these students, he is also pursuing research in the sciences and trying to make sense of the world around and the world within oneself through scientific theories. The experiences that he has and the related epiphanies, as narrated in the book, will help these young students, who are following a similar trajectory as him, develop a better understanding of their own personal experiences and thus resolve their career related confusions. Even an everyday phenomenon like a stick bending inside water due to the refraction of light is used in the book to bring out a deep mystery, related to the brain, which has hardly been mentioned before in high school science textbooks, to the best of our knowledge.
Ary’s character is very interestingly and meticulously developed in this novel and that precisely makes it such an entertaining and insightful read for the young readers. Every significant event that happens in his life during his years of doctoral research and the manner in which he reacts to each event are narrated with utmost honesty. The readers can probe into what exactly goes on in his mind, and thereby develop a deep understanding about the mind and consciousness of any individual in general. The prologue of the book explains that the author’s main purpose of writing this book is to explore more about mind and consciousness and we feel that he is successful in doing that through such an honest depiction of Ary’s consciousness. Among the other characters in the novel, the character of Polo, Ary’s love interest, is particularly interesting. She brings a breeze of aloofness with her, which is pretty unique.
Having covered the positives about the book, we will next mention a negative. A key component about the character of the protagonist Ary, which drives the narrative, is his obsession. As his obsession shifts from one thing to the other, new ideas about the mind and consciousness are developed. But the readers are not provided with much of an insight into the root cause of Ary’s obsessive nature. A sub-plot, which covers the key events in Ary’s childhood that have led to the development of such an obsessive nature by the time he starts doctoral research, could have been a nice addition in this novel.