Ashok Khanna is an alumnus of Mumbai University and has written for Indian television. He was responsible for translating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindi speeches into English in the book Turbulence and Triumph: The Modi Years. It was the lockdown in 2020 that prompted the author to venture into English fiction.
In our Q&A session, we will talk to the author about this incredible breezy book…
How did you get the idea of writing this book?
I have been writing for television for a long time. During the lockdown, everything shut down, and I sat home twiddling my thumbs. Then I thought of trying my hand at fiction. An idea was brewing in my mind. And as I began to punch letters on my laptop, the seed slowly began to take the shape of a tree. After three and a half months, the book was ready.
What made you choose this particular title?
The heroine of my story has two options to choose her partner. One is an Indian boy, and the other is an Indian American. The Indian American boy represents the Green card, and the Indian boy represents the Ration card.
What are the elements of contemporary fiction?
For me, a book in any category, fiction or non-fiction, has to be interesting. There is no point in throwing a book away after reading a few pages. It must hold your attention from the word go. So, the only element that counts in any writing is the art of capturing the reader’s interest.
Is your book Green Card or Ration Card written to raise social awareness or solely for entertainment?
I would leave the job of raising social awareness to others. I believe in entertaining and not preaching to readers. My forte is comedy writing and making somebody laugh is a good thing.
How was your entire writing journey?
It was exciting because it was my debut novel. And, of course, I had wonderful people at 16 Leaves who were responsible for bringing out my work. They were constantly in touch and kept me in the loop at every stage.
Is there anything you want to tell your readers that you might not have mentioned in your book?
Every book says something to its readers. The last line of the Green Card or Ration Card is about a simple, honest, and selfless emotion called love – that can move mountains!
How did you pick your endearing characters, entangled in different situations?
I believe that the characters in any story are real. I make them go through real-life situations. When stuck in difficult stages, I don’t take the easy way out because then it becomes predictable. Predictability is the biggest enemy of the writer!