C. P. Belliappa's Column


By C.P. Belliappa

As an 8th grader in the US, Caelan Konganda’s class teacher encouraged the students to write a short novel.  How cool is that for a class project!  14-year-old Caelan took on the challenge and worked for six months with active support from his teacher and parents.  His debut novel – The Survival – was published this year by Createspace.

Caelan’s grandfather, and my second-cousin, Brig. Chepudira Joe Ponnappa, gave me a copy of The Survival.  It was an enjoyable read. The story reminded me of Michael Crichton’s Andromeda’s Strain, one the best science fictions in my opinion.  Caelan has used his fertile imaginations to come up with an engaging story where an experiment to find a cure for cancer goes awry.

The two scientists who come up with the remedy in 2022 AD are the Baldwin brothers.  They successfully cure a terminally ill man of the malady, but the side-effects of the treatment turns the patient into a violent zombie!   In a disaster reminiscent of Frankenstein, the zombie bites the two brothers who too turn into zombies.  This soon snowballs, and within days the entire population of Los Angeles is seething with violent zombies attacking every living creature in sight and turning them into their clones.

By 2024 AD the entire world is infected, except for 18-year-old Billy and his dog Bonzo who hide in the ruins of a Beverly Hills mansion.  The story is about Billy’s heroics in preventing himself and his pet from being bitten by the zombies; and to find an antidote to transform the zombies back to normal humans.

Billy practically lives on bacon and Twinkies that he salvages from rampaged stores. He hotwires abandoned cars to get about, and even flies a plane to collect a highly classified equipment stored in the basement of the White House, which lies partially ruined by the zombies.

Incidentally, the zombies are allergic to sunlight!  This gives Billy the choice to go about his quest during daytime.

This is just a teaser to read the interesting book.  Does Billy find an antidote?  Is the world of zombies transformed back to humans?  Well, read all about it in 163 pages of The Survival.  It’s available on  in both hardcopy and kindle version.

Caelan is also a champion golfer having already won quite a few trophies in the 13-18 age group. Recently he got selected to play for his school in all American Junior Golf tournament.  In addition, he plays the guitar and the piano.  His maternal grandparents Cheppudira Joe and Jancy, and paternal grandparents Konganda Girish and Bollu are indeed very proud of their multitalented grandson.  Caelan’s father Sudeep Konganda, a successful architect, and his mother Gina, are settled in Dallas, USA.

Expect a lot more in the years to come from this promising young Kodava American.