About the Author:Suchitra S Rao was born in Chennai, but spent her early childhood and education in Madurai. She holds a Post-graduate Diploma in Planning and Entrepreneurship from the Indian Institute of Planning Management – Chennai. Right after her education she moved on to create a successful career in Sales & Marketing. She has immense experience of over nine years from various industries such as Insurance, Banking and Freight Forwarding. She currently works in a Logistics firm at a Middle Managerial Cadre. Belonging to a family of Doctors & Medical professionals who had dedicated themselves to the community for generations, Suchitra is also zealous about community service.
Q / A Session With Rao
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I did my undergraduate and post-graduate diploma in Planning &
Entrepreneurship from IIPM,Chennai. I majored in HR & Marketing and I
excelled in studies during my B-School and was honored with the Director’s
Silver Medal for all-rounder’s performance in my convocation. I started a
career in Sales & Marketing , right after my graduation focused on creating a career for myself and progressed to the middle managerial cadre. I come from a family of medical professionals , My mother is a Medical Doctor by
profession who worked in the Government of Tamil Nadu who retired as a
RMO of Egmore Eye hospital in 2016 and My dad is a veterinary doctor who
worked with National Insurance and retired as Chief manager. I have an elder brother who works as a store manager in Match Marketing in Edmonton, Alberta. I had a middle –class brought up with a lot of importance for education. My parents prioritized education expenses over any other comforts and had sacrificed a lot of their comforts to make my dreams become true. I had a childhood with a lot of freedom, but I understood freedom comes with a lot of responsibility and always took care of my actions.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think I have been aspiring to be a writer since I read my first book of Harry Potter. But, as I grew up the studies got competitive and I had forgotten my dream. When I was actively involved in cattle trafficking, I wanted to create awareness and reach out to masses on the reality of this issue. I was exploring options of documentary, blogging, or publishing a research journal. I figured out that the topic will get redundant and it will not reach many if I stuck to factual method of putting across facts and figures. Hence, I thought of adding a creative streak to it and write a book.
What have you written? Give us an insight into your book
The book revolves around the character of Arjun a young business man and Sana who is a working professional leading a very normal life like any other youngsters until life throws them off track with a mission that they work together. Arjun spearheads the mission, while Sana along with a group of like-minded people support the mission and confronts cattle traffickers and stand up against a vicious mafia lord. The rest of the story is what the youngster Arjun faces in his mission and the heavy price he pays for spearheading a movement of righteousness. The book is a fiction, but some incidents are inspired by real life incidents that I came across as an activist.
We understand that the Characterization of Protagonist Arjun Krishnan is well- received by the readers , If The Highway Mafia is ever made into a Kollywood, Sandalwood, Tollywood and Bollywood movie who do you think should be casted as ‘Arjun’.
I am in the early stages of making ‘The Highway Mafia’ into a Movie. I have already approached production houses who have agreed to consider funding provided I get the right crew to make the movie. So am in the process of finding an apt director. I would definitely be taking the inputs of my director for the lead roles. However, If you ask me my personal choice would be Sushanth Singh Rajput for Bollywood, Mahesh Babu for Tollywood , Yash for Sandalwood. In kollywood it definitely has to be Actor Vijay. I think I always aspired to make this Highway Mafia into a movie. Not that I am fascinated by movies. Book reaches niche, but movies reach out to a lot of masses and I am focusing on both kinds of audience. I am hopeful that someday ‘The Highway Mafia’ will be made into a very successful movie’.
How do you project the future of crime thriller writers in India?
When we read the news papers in the morning, we see new crime and mafia gang popping up a lot. For this reason I think the future of crime thriller in India is very bright. India though rapidly growing in many different ways unfortunately has a lot of environment, quality standards and safety hazards at stake compared to other countries. Corruption has its roots in almost every industry, for this reason India has become a breeding ground of lot of crimes. If something cannot be done in their own country, they outsource the function to us, few of our business people and politicians make it easy for them by lobbying and thus putting the life and future of us Indians at stake. I wrote about one such industry which is depleting our nation’s wealth ‘Cattle’. Nowhere in the world so many cattle are cruelly transported and killed and exported at this rate. According to a recent study India is the second largest in raw hide exports succeeded by China who is ranking no 1. It’s not a coincidence that, India is also ranking 2 nd in beef exports. Both these money hungry industries have always fully utilized the corrupt practices of government authorities and politicians to by pass laws and maximize their profits. Like this many industries have many interesting and important stories to be shared to the public. By writing about it we are not going to make a big difference, but at least we can create awareness about the topic. This can be a small seed that is planted that will make a big difference in the years to come.
What is the most fulfilling part of writing this book? And what is the most challenging?
The most fulfilling part is the creative freedom, you feel like a god when you write a book, you create your own universe. I think I have created some moments that I longed for, created some people who were only in my mind. It was a very fulfilling experience. Challenging part is breaking the story into the chapters. I think I got stuck here quite a bit. It could be too much or too less in a chapter. I think while second or third round of editing this got smoothened. But that was one part which was very challenging for me.
What is the next book that you have planned?
Next book is again a macro-economic, political crime, and an environmental crime just like my first book. But it is another natural resource, I am in the secondary research , it is a sensitive topic that involves Human emotions , so I would take my time in writing this book , like ‘The Highway Mafia’ even this book will have a lot of scope to become a movie. I also have a gut feel that this will be my best book, better than The Highway Mafia and also any future books that I may write.