Subhashini Prasad was born Indian, raised Indonesian, educated American and professionally groomed to call the world her oyster. She holds an MBA degree from the Indian School of Business and has over ten years of work experience in Strategy Consulting and Banking.
An avid traveller, she has visited more than forty countries and truly believes any country can be called home without compromising one’s identity. She shares funny and sincere stories of motherhood on her Instagram page, @dosaiamma. She believes that laughter is an instant vacation and that dancing is the solution to everything, be it toddler tantrums or maid troubles.
Subhashini currently resides in Gurgaon with her husband, toddler boy and baby girl.
TBE: Tell us about your book, can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
Subhashini Prasad: Not Really Indian is a collection of short stories on women who have lived in India and abroad. It was originally written as a novel with many references to my life and my friends’ lives. I then converted the book into a series of short stories revolving around women because that gave me more creativity as an author to play around with plots and quirky protagonists.
TBE: What brought about the idea for Not Really Indian and why did you want to write it?
Subhashini Prasad: As someone who has been brought up in three different countries – US, India, Indonesia – I wanted to write about the dilemma, conflicts and crossroads one faces as a Third Culture Kid. In Not Really Indian, each woman, has her own journey – breaking stereotypes or finding forgone love or bravely choosing between her home country and life abroad. I wanted to write stories never told before, about women who are caught in that net of pride and confusion for being Not Really Indian.
TBE: Which is your most favorite story from your book? and why?
Subhashini Prasad: “Goodbye, My First Love” has got to be my favorite because it is based on my life, when my family made the first move to Indonesia from Chennai. The characters are realistically dramatized but the emotions are raw and real. I owe a huge part of my writing style and love for books to my childhood in Indonesia and this is my dedication to the country I still call home. Interestingly, it is also the story most readers tell me they loved. The story “Penelope Sharma”, is a close second.
TBE: What was your writing process for this book?
Subhashini Prasad: I am not a very disciplined writer. I write with emotion and flare and once the plot, story and characters have been drawn up to meet my expectations and imagination, I sit and write (“like a maniac” as my husband jokes) through the night till the sun rises or the baby wakes up. And as an author, I like to leave the reader wanting more : so my stories have unexpected twists and open ended endings. As a reader, I am a big fan of realistic stories and I try to reflect that in my writing.
TBE: How long did it take you to write this book?
Subhashini Prasad: It took me a year to write Not Really Indian in novel form and four months to convert into short stories.
TBE: What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
Subhashini Prasad: That it is okay to feel Not Really Indian – to feel less patriotic or confused or vulnerable. I want them to know that each story is realistic and if they smile, nodding involuntarily at some of the events, I consider it mission accomplished. Also, I want to leave the readers wanting more out of my writing like some of the best short story tellers do.
TBE: Do you read much and if so, who are your favorite authors?
TBE: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Subhashini Prasad: I enjoy traveling, spending time with my kids and dancing.
TBE: In your opinion, what is the most important thing about any book?
Subhashini Prasad: The style of writing – no matter how weak or strong a plot is, if the author can deliver a story in an engaging way, the book will sell.
TBE: What was one of the most surprising things you learned during creation of your book?
Subhashini Prasad: I was not sure how the Indian audience would react to ten stories about women and in a setting where India is portrayed in different angles. But they have been received well and I learned that is always a market for good storytelling.
TBE: If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be?
Subhashini Prasad: “Never give up – keep writing. You are finally an author now.”
TBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
Subhashini Prasad: Yes – I am working on my second book – a love story untold before.